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Have you ever been sooooo sleepy that you couldn‘t keep your eyes open ... but you had to? Once I was taking a very interesting missions course from a very interesting teacher. But the class fell asleep first thing after lunch, right in the period when my stomach likes to calmly digest things. If I happen to get still during this time, my stomach sends up hypnotic messages: "Go to sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep." The problem was that this very interesting teacher had a very strange way of assigning grades. He had two unusual tests during the year (the second one was optional), a term paper plus class participation. But for him, "class participation" wasn‘t just answering his questions. "I might see the interested look on your face, and that would count," he informed us. So I was going to be graded on the interested look on my face? First period after lunch? With my stomach sending up, "sleep, sleep, sleeeeeeeeep!" signals? At times I felt I was lifting thousand-pound weights in that class, but it was only my eyelids that I was trying to prop up. Actually, I got an A for the course but I told you that he had a weird grading system. Weird people excel in weird grading systems. Still, trying to stay awake when every fiber of your being lulls you towards the nirworrvana of slumber, hurts horribly.
Still A Problem I have the same battle to stay awake spiritually. It shakes me when I read in Luke 21,
"But take heed to yourselves and be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed (weighed down) with the giddiness and headache and nausea of self-indulgence, drunkenness, and worldly worries and cares pertaining to [the business of] this life, and [lest] that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or a noose; For it will come upon all who live upon the face of the entire earth." (Luke 21:34, 35 Amplified)
Partying and drunkenness isn‘t my thing, but "worldly worries and cares"? That bites! Here‘s how Eugene Peterson says it in The Message,
"But be on your guard. Don't let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it's going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don't go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that's coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man." (Lk. 21:34-36)
The more alive you are to this world, the less awake you are to spiritual things. Honestly, I knew that partying and boozing would dull your spiritual senses but worrying? Yup. If I want to be on my toes to the fact that the Lord is coming, I need to learn to leave my worries with Him and fill my mind with His Word, His promises, and get busy reaching out to the hurting in His Name. The more His business is on my mind, the less time I have to worry about my worries. According to verse 36, it seems like prayer also plays a powerful role in keeping us awake to what God is saying. "Pray constantly." Lord, help me to stay awake. This is too important and I can‘t sleep my life away buried under the bedcovers of worries and constantly seeking a good time. All this that I see is going to finish up and the unseen reality will become powerfully known. I want to be ready for that day. I want to do your will in this life. Help me stay awake. The Holy Spirits stimulates you more than twelve cups of coffee. He‘ll wake you up and get you busy if you ask Him. So ask Him already. This is no time to be sleeping!
Hmmm... "When your memories exceed you dreams, the end is near ... Vision is a reflection of a broken heart. Wherever you are in ministry there has got to be something that breaks your heart, that reflects the broken heart of God. If I‘m more worried about getting the next operating system on my computer than I am about broken people, then I have a heart problem ... My vision has dissipated ... Vision begins with a burden and a burden reflects a broken heart." Andy Stanley.