Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night? Not the kind where you roll over and fall back asleep. The wide awake, fully alert, up for the day…but daybreak is still hours away?
I am a light sleeper. Always have been. I can tell you when the neighbors leave for work, when the dumpster down the street at St. Theresa’s church is emptied each week, what time the paper delivery person comes by each day. I hear Jim snore (and myself), the cats’ sigh, Craig talking in his sleep. Even if I don’t wake all the way up, I hear and am aware of the things going on around me.
But several years ago, I began to wake up in the middle of the night, usually around 2 a.m. I tried taking a sleeping pill…it made me so groggy I had trouble getting up when I was suppose to. I tried taking a hot bath, stretching on my exercise ball (without a helmet…add Jim and Craig’s laughter here), even watching some really bad late night television.
It wasn’t until I sat still and did nothing that if finally came to me…God. God was trying to talk to me. He picked a time he knew I wouldn’t be busy, because at the time, my days were filled to the brim. Jim and I were both working full time, Craig was in middle school, Derek in high school, so there were activities at school and church, committies to be on, meetings to attend, classes to teach…well, you get the picture. I’m sure you can relate…we are all busy.
But in the still of the night, while I was sleeping, was the perfect time…let’s face it…the only time God could grab my attention just for himself. I felt his presence at church and during bible studies and my devotional time. But usually it was me doing the speaking…not a lot of listening going on.
I remember reading how God called Samuel into his service. Samuel was a young boy living at the temple with the priest, Eli. He thought he heard Eli calling to him at night. It didn’t take long for Eli for realize that it was God who was calling to Samuel, in the still of the night.
Everyone is different. So God speaks to everyone in a different way. My husband loves to be outdoors…in fact he walks to work each day unless it is so bitter cold he cannot…and then he complains about missing his walk. Jim loves to walk in the woods and just listen for God to speak to him. Even though he is an avid fisherman, he has told me on more than one occasion, “A good day is when the fish are biting…a great day is when they aren’t!” The tranquility of being alone, communing with God, is what delights him…sometimes, the fish just get in the way.
I have a friend, Nancy, who loves to bird watch. She told me recently that in some of the hardest times of her life, God has sent a special bird to her, just to let her know that he is there. That when she is outdoors, walking in the woods or the wetlands, she can feel God speak to her and it brings her peace.
Where does God speak to you? Are you like me and are so busy that it’s hard for him to get a moment alone with you? Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” When was the last time you sat still and waited for God to speak to you? When was the last time you invited him into your busy schedule? What time will you set aside for him today?
What a blessing it is to just sit by myself and know that I’m not alone. So, I wait, in the still of the night…for my Father to come and speak to me.
God sometimes seems to speak to us most intimately when he catches us, as it were, off our guard.
-C. S. Lewis