Could It Be God Who Stirs Me From Sleep?
I’m awake and up before my husband—The Cowboy—has gone to bed. It’s 1:21 a.m. and too darn early. I went to bed at 10, but I’m wide awake now. I’m afraid I’m getting weird. Unbalanced.
And while I really love getting a jump on my day, I’m also afraid I’m getting pulled out of sync with the rest of the world, who’s mostly awake when the sun’s up, not the moon. It sounds silly to write that, considering that I’m checking in with you, the one who put the sun and moon in place and never sleeps.
Up until now, my early rising has felt like you were waking me up to hang out. Now it’s beginning to feel like I have a sleep problem, and that I’m only imagining you’re waking me up. And I wonder, have I also invented all these words from you that I’ve been writing down?
I love to sleep. I’ve been a sleep monger all my life. But losing sleep tonight isn’t what’s bothering me.
Sleeping Disorder or a Special Connection with God?
What’s bothering me is that I’m afraid I’ve made it up that you’re waking me up. And I’m afraid I’m only imagining that my time in the morning with my Bible and this journal is actually time spent with you. I’m afraid that I’ve really just got a sleep disorder, not a special connection with the God of the Universe.
But these conversations that I write down–the thoughts that come to mind when I read my Bible and write down what comes to mind—maybe they’re more like a one-sided dialogue.
But whatever it is, there’s all this joy that comes flooding in with the words. And there’s instruction that I don’t already know. And the seeing. I’m seeing stuff, God. And there’s confessing.
Am I inventing all that?
It’s raining outside. You know how I love the rain, especially when it’s dark. Did you get me up to hear it? I’ve got coffee now, and time. And I’m wide awake. Here’s my Bible and pen.
Whether or not you’re calling me awake or I’m just experiencing interrupted sleep—or, if I’m deluded, it’s a happy delusion—this is the most fun I know how to have.
Thank you for being here with me now, even if the reason I’m up has more to do with hormones than your wake up call. Take my eyes off the clock and off of me and put them onto you.
Words I Needed to Hear
Open your words to me, no matter what time it is.
I open my One Year Bible, and these words jump right off the page:
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him,” Hebrews 11:6).
Maybe it shouldn’t surprise me, but it does. On the morning I’m most struggling with fear of being weird–today of all days–I’m given this chapter to read in Hebrews where I find words about what faith is, about it being required for seeking you, and about how I must also believe that you reward me for doing it.
I mean, I believe you exist. I look at birth, at life, at the creation. No question. And I believe you reward me for seeking you–for reading your words and talking to you. I think I’m experiencing some rewards. Over and over, I’m given exactly the words I need for a particular day and often, on what feels to me like a crisis day—a day of especially heightened need—like today.
Can it be just coincidence that I’m up super early this morning, that the dogs-of-doubt are snarling, and these words about faith and seeking you just happen to come along, about how faith is at the core of seeking you?
This feels like a benevolent set up.
I’ve been afraid for a little while now that my seeking you was becoming a problem, that I was getting proud about it and depending on my seeking as the thing that connects me to you.
But the first ten chapters of Hebrews I’ve just slogged through have been about how it’s Jesus’ work, not mine, that makes it possible for me, an ordinary grandmother-without-a-paying-job, to come to you, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, first thing in the morning.
Just that alone is so wonderful, it strains my ability to believe it. But since you say it, I do. I guess I’m afraid I’m getting out of bed and getting coffee and feeling pumped to be with you, but that really, you’re not here. I’m afraid that I need to believe you’re here to survive my less than picture-perfect life, and so maybe I’ve invented the idea of your waking me up to hang out.
And I wondered if I was seeing behind the Wizard of Oz’s curtain. Was I the one pushing buttons and pulling levers the way he did? Was there really no Wizard who woos me awake?
My take away today from Hebrews is how important my faith is in seeking you: I can’t come to you without it, which I guess makes sense when I think about it. I can’t seek someone I don’t believe exists. And I have to believe that you reward me for doing it, that you pour out the good stuff. Since you thought it all up, you know better than I do what that is.
But my faith is weak, Abba. Fill me up. I’m unable to believe without your help.
It Was Love After All
The next morning, I woke up with the same nagging question all over again: are you waking me up to hang out?
I know I’m not gonna find a verse that says it. I’m embarrassed to want one so badly, afraid to hope I might matter this much to you.
Yesterday, I struggled to believe that you care enough to respond to me. I struggled to believe that I was that important to you. But the Bible says that my relationship with you was important enough for Jesus to die to make possible (John 3:16).
So why wouldn’t I be important enough to watch over? To be glad to see? To wake up to hang out with? Don’t I do at least this much with my own kids? Would you do any less for me?
I found my unbelief at 1:21 am. And I’ve found something else. As I was writing these words just now, pieces of a verse—something about being wakened—came to mind.
I had no idea where to find them, so I checked my Bible app and here’s what came up: “He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away,” (Isaiah 50:4-5).
The exact words I’d hoped-against-hope to find, right on the page, tucked inside Isaiah all this time?
I’m undone. Overwhelmed. The tears come.
Thank you, God, for rewarding me like this. Thank you for giving me yourself.
“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you,” (Psalm 9:11).
In this article, writer Eve connected with God by reading the Bible. If you’re wondering whether or not you should do the same, we encourage you to check out this podcast episode: Does the Bible Need to Be Part of Our Lives? with Steve Wiggins – 173