Through the Night
You can probably tell from my posts the last several days that I have been dealing with conflict in my life. I am really busy, but feel like I am pedaling in first gear; and I don’t believe that I am getting that much done. Therefore, I am digging in and working even harder; trying to focus on helping all the people I encounter who already have relationships with me. Don’t get me wrong – I am not out there looking for new business, but it seems that most of the folks I know are dealing with a ton of stress right now; whether it is a staffing problem, unrealized growth, overwork and under-rest, or just a lack of peace – people are stuck; and I am among them.
As an example, I used to work with a client in Illinois who was having a tough time; and I recently found out that they have now filed for bankruptcy. I have not been involved since last December, but my heart still goes out to them as they wrestle with losing their business, and their home, and all the other things that they have pledged believing that their business would be successful. Their story is not unique. Regardless of what the numbers say, I don’t believe the economy, or the creation of jobs, is getting any stronger.
Hardly a day goes by right now that I don’t receive a call from someone seeking advice about some aspect of their life; mostly from a spiritual perspective. And sometimes I feel ill-equipped to help them, because I feel spiritually dry myself. And when I get busier, the first thing that goes out the window is prayer. That may sound a little strange to you, but sadly, it’s true. When I get stressed out, I tend to depend on myself more than God, and I don’t know why I do that. All I can do is chalk it up to humanity.
I seek God, but have a hard time finding Him. It’s as if my prayers hit a wall and miss the target. Then I get discouraged and stop trying. Ever do that? Feel that your prayers are missing the mark? Not that God isn’t listening, but sometimes I feel that my prayers just don’t have the same devotional quality, or for some reason that I am just going through the motions of prayer, without really concentrating on my time with God. I hate it when that happens. Several people having similar issues to mine resolve the problem by diving into the Bible and trying to get consolation, usually from Proverbs or the Psalms. I tend to study, as opposed to reading the Bible for devotional purposes.
And tonight, I am remembering Psalm 63. It has long been one of my favorites. Briefly, the Psalm was written by David when it is thought that his life was in danger and he was on the run from his enemies. In fact, some theologians believe that he was trying to escape from his son Absalom, who was trying to kill King David and take his throne. The psalm starts out a great first verse. It reads, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” David is crying out for God, but can’t seem to find Him. Kind of how I feel sometimes.
Anyway, the psalm goes on with Kind David recalling times in the past when he has been with God, and as the psalm progresses, David’s strength in God is renewed. His writing becomes more positive and confident. David discovers God where he is, in the present, and doesn’t have to just recollect the past. Great words of wisdom. But my favorite verse in Psalm 63 has to do with the patience of God. Because in verse 6, David reveals, “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.” This probably meant that God and David were in communion together for at least some part of all 3 watches of the night. And isn’t that just like God?
Because when we are too busy to pray, or to think about God, He patiently waits for a time when He has our undivided attention – usually the middle of the night. At least with me, that tends to be the time that God gently nudges me and let’s me know that He desires time with me. But rarely does God force Himself on me during the heat of the day, when I can be easily distracted, inattentive, or unresponsive to His desires for my life, or even my conduct. But when God grabs my attention in the “watches of the night”, He always has my undivided attention. And that is how it should be all the time.
I usually feel much better after one of these encounters. Much more peaceful. And I must remember that no matter how busy I am, I should never be too busy to pray. Because if I am, it means my priorities are really messed up. And in my heart, that’s not what I want.
So my encouragement tonight is to re-dedicate your prayer life to God. Try to be intentional about your time with the Father and his Son. And my prayer is that if you need some peace, and some alone time with God, that He will pay you a visit through the “watches of the night.” Grace and Peace…..