I awoke at 2:25 AM. Again. Ruthless thoughts tend to permeate my mind when I lay down with nothing to distract me. Sometimes I can't stop the replay of hurtful words and broken dreams. Depression and I have danced off and on for the last few years despite a heart which feels more confident and more peace than ever before.
What a strange conundrum this world can be.
When sleep gets interrupted by whole body wakefulness, I tend to remember the story of Samuel. I also remember all the fun times my children and I had in acting out this story. The play by play activity continued with our foster children. I had hopes of keeping them busy while sowing seeds of faith.
Scripture tells us of young Samuel who grew up in the care of a priest named Eli. Three nights in a row Samuel was wakened. Three nights in a row he went to Levi to say, "Here I am; you called me." Three nights in a row Levi told Samuel he did not call him.
Don't kids use this rouse to wake sleeping parents when they need attention and comfort? "Hey mom and dad, I know you wanted to see me so I thought I'd come crawl in your bed at 3 AM. I'm wide awake and now so are you."
What if God wants our attention in the middle of the night?
What if He has comfort to give to us?
By the third time, Eli got it.
Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, "Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, 'Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place.~ I Samuel 3:8b-9
Whether we can't sleep for circumstantial, physical or physiological reasons, we can respond like Samuel.
And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant hears."
My children practiced this in turns. One person lay on the couch like sleeping Levi. The other ran over to him and spoke the words of the young boy. We giggled as we practiced saying, "Here I am Lord, your servant is listening."
I pray my children remember this powerful lesson I cannot forget.
When I'm awake and all is still I'm reminded that God may have something to say. I don't always remember to call out, but inevitably when I do my time with God is fruitful.
In the middle of the night I have felt God's presence near. I've known the comfort of his wiping away my tears and reminding me of who I belong to. I've also found a desperate need to turn to praise and focus on God's Word. His words of truth replace the lies which threaten peace.
My mind may detour to the things which take me down, but I pray it never deters the voice of God no matter when He calls.
Have you been woken up by God in the middle of the night? Perhaps you woke at nearly the same time night after night and wondered why. Could it be God is speaking?