The last several weeks, I have had trouble getting back on eastern time. When we flew to Europe, Janet and I had one day of adjustment, but for some reason, it was much more difficult on the way back. I am sure that part of the problem is that we did not sleep on the flight home; whereas we were able to sleep several hours on our way to London. Also, on the way home, we were stranded for an evening in New York – after 23 hours of being up, and after only several hours sleep, we were at it again; back to JFK to make sure we finally got back to Indy.
Anyway, we arrived home one week ago today. I must say, it is more difficult getting back on schedule that I thought it would be. I am glad that my meeting schedule was light for the end of last week, and then we had a four day week-end. By Saturday, Janet and I were pretty much back to normal, and on Sunday evening, I finally slept great.
Kristin, our oldest daughter, and her family, went to Dallas on Sunday, and we agreed to let their dog, Yogi, spend the week with us. We have sort of “adopted” him for the week, and like our own dog, Lexie, he likes to sleep on a corner of the bed. Only problem is – Yogi is quite a bit larger than Lexie and he weights more than 75 pounds. On top of that, he has skin allergies, and must take Benedryl to keep his itching under control.
Since I suffer with severe allergies as well, and know how itching can keep you up at night, I sympathize with Yogi. Anyway, last night was the perfect storm – Janet and I were tired, 2 dogs in the bedroom with us, and we forgot to give Yogi his evening meds. So, you guessed it – at 1:50 a.m. he got up; wheezing and sneezing, itching and scratching. It was only a matter of moments before I realized that he would have to go out, so I got up and let him out in the dog run on the side of our house. Janet gave him Benedryl and both of us, as well as the dogs, went back to bed. At 3:10, Yogi got up again, and I let him out again. He kept whining and I am sure that he missed his regular family and the routine back at his home.
Anyway, by this time, it was almost impossible to go back to sleep. I was dog tired (get it?) and yet a particular thought kept going through my mind. For I was remembering how I would work through most of the night on Greek and Hebrew homework when I was in seminary. You see, Janet and I had an agreement that I wouldn’t let seminary interfere with our family life, and so I started my homework each evening at 11:00 p.m. when everyone else was in bed. I would do theology first and then, usually well after midnight, I would get on the phone with Paul, a seminary classmate of mine, and we would start on our language homework. We always had translations to do, and vocabulary to study. It was usually somewhere between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. when we would finish – although I do remember evenings when we were on the phone until close to 4:00 a.m.
Then, after several hours sleep, I would get up at 5:30 a.m. and get ready for school. I left the house at 6:20 or so, and drove to my first class, which started at 7:30. So, for some reason, last evening, each time I got up, I would think about what part of my homework I would be working on at that time. Kind of nuts, isn’t it? As I look back on those days, I can’t help but wonder how I ever got through 3 years of classes on that sort of schedule. Janet keeps reminding me that I didn’t do it – God did! And she’s right – as usual.
But it is odd that all I could think about is how I used to work throughout the night, and how close I felt to God when that happened. Paul and I still speak weekly and, of course, it is almost always after midnight. And we still have great conversations. We talk about our ministries and what we see God doing in our lives. We hold each other accountable and sometimes discuss theological questions each of us might bring up. The middle of the night still seems to be the time when I learn the most about God. But another reason that I look at those times gone by with affection is that I felt that going to school was exactly what God had in mind for me to do. And He gave me the strength and the perseverance to stick it out and graduate. As I look back on it, there is no way I could have done it in my own power – definitely the will of God.
The verse tonight is from Col. 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” My encouragement tonight is to always remember who you work for. Because too many times, we think that we work for people of this world, and that is not the case. We serve a higher power – the God of the universe – and that is quite an honor. And God will never give you an assignment without the tools necessary to carry out His will for your life. My prayer is that you will dedicate yourself to fulfilling God’s calling on your life. Because God will give you the supernatural strength and guidance to accomplish whatever you are called to do. By the way, I’m glad Paul didn’t call last night – I was just too tired to talk! Sweet dreams!