Nudged by God…
It’s almost 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning and I am sitting in the hearth room of our home in Carmel, IN. Janet and I went to bed around 11:30 p.m. last night and somewhere around 1:15 a.m. I woke up. I laid in bed for more than an hour, thinking that I would go back to sleep but that hasn’t been the case.
Usually, I am a pretty sound sleeper – always have been. When I was a young boy, Mom would run the vacuum during my naps and whenever we were at my grandparent’s home, we got used to the grandfather clock in the living room chiming the time every fifteen minutes. Even now, with our own grandfather clock right outside our bedroom door, I usually sleep peacefully. It’s one of the ways that I have been very fortunate for the way that my parents and grandparents were preemptive in desensitizing me to sound and light when I slept – nothing bothers me.
So when I wake up in the middle of the night, I have come to believe that God wants my undivided attention for something. After all, we serve a very patient God. If we are busy during the day, or have something that we really should seek Godly counsel on, I sometimes neglect to consult with the Father on what His wishes for my life are. So God waits for me – for the time that He has my undivided attention – and that is during the middle of the night when the rest of the country is asleep.
It used to bother me but now I have come to expect these chats with God. When I find that I am unable to sleep, or wake up from a deep sleep, the first thing I do is to pray. This morning, I prayed for people I know who aren’t physically well and need God’s healing touch. I also prayed about a conversation that I need to have and want to make sure that I do it with the right heart and frame of mind. Aside from those concerns, our son, Andrew, has a birthday coming up in several days. I prayed for him, as well as our daughters, that they may have peaceful, productive lives and that God will bless our entire family abundantly.
In an odd sort of way, I cherish these times. I probably needed to spend more time with God and now is my time to catch up. One other thing I am thinking about is the inscription I am getting ready to write in a Bible for Drew, our youngest grandson. Most of the time, I just start writing and the words flow. This time, though, I have really thought about the message and what words I wish to impart as I encourage him to stay close to God and depend on Jesus for comfort and counsel throughout his entire life. But an even more profound reason to read the Bible is the fact that it is the best way to enter into a deeper relationship with the true God who created us.
The 63rd psalm is one of my favorites. More than 20 years ago, I started to study it as a response to worship. King David was on the run from his son, Absalom, and was feeling alone in the wilderness. David called out to God as he remembered his past interactions with God. As the psalm continues, David gets stronger and stronger as he remembers God throughout the watches of the night. The psalm ends in praise and worship – it is clearly a call to God in times of trouble.
I have always been taken with the verses on the watches of the night. Back then, there were three watches of four hours each every evening so David must have been involved with God for part of the first watch, through the entire second watch and into the third watch. That’s quite a bit of God time but as we know, David was after God’s own heart. Traditionally, the first watch began at sunset and lasted until 10:00 p.m., the second watch was from 10:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. and the third watch was from 2:00 a.m. until sunrise. These times coincided with when the camp would be guarded by military personnel as most of the soldiers slept.
Tonight’s verse highlights the part of the 63rd psalm when David references his remembrances of God at night. David tells us, in Psalm 63:6-8, “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”
My encouragement this evening is that God waits for us to engage Him; and if we fail to do that, we may expect Him to gently nudge us when we least expect it – when He can have our undivided attention. My prayer is that we will welcome these times with God and leave ourselves open to the leading of the Holy Spirit and what God wants us to focus on when we hear that still, small voice in the middle of the night. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…