I am, in fact, a true night owl. If I can get past 9 p.m. I'm good to go until around 4 a.m. Then it only makes sense to sleep until 11 a.m. followed by a nap from 2-5 p.m. Such sleep habits are perfect for the jobless high school/college student, or even the unmarried high school English teacher on summer break I used to be, but they don't work so well, say, for a stay-at-home mom with a husband and a two year old.
An Invitation from the Holy Spirit
After adjusting to the shock of being a first time mom and having an infant in the house, I began to feel like something wasn't right. Thinking it was simply lack of sleep (not understanding I was never going to sleep again), I dismissed the feeling. But the months rolled by, and the emptiness persisted. During worship one Sunday morning, as the pastor talked about the importance of daily interaction with the scriptures, I realized that I couldn't remember the last time I had opened my Bible outside of church.
I sat on my realization for several weeks more while the God-hole in my spirit continued to grow, until it was so big I confessed to a close friend my sin of neglecting God.
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Speaking the truth of my sin threw open the door to my soul, allowing the Holy Spirit to extend an invitation:
"Meet me early in the morning, before the sun comes up, while the world and your house is still asleep," whispered the Lord.
I responded, "Wait. . .what??? Meet you when???"
"Give me your firstfruits, Pam! Offer up your day to me before it starts and I will fill you," said God.Early in the Morning
Was God really asking me to do this? But I'm a night owl! He's instructing me to go against the grain of my own personality. Deep in my heart I knew I had to, but I didn't want to. At the same time, I was painfully aware that late night Bible study didn't work. Even though I was wide awake, I couldn't focus; the weight of the day rested heavily on me and my mind constantly wandered away from a heavenly gaze, back to my worldly cares. The more I begged him to show me another avenue, the more convicted I became that, for me, there were no other options.
Early it is! Now let me make sure a hammer is on my night stand so I can smash that clock when the alarm goes off!
Looking for Proof
When my husband and I held our marriage retreat back in December, my top personal goal for 2016 was to be an early riser and spend time with God before my day got started. Still questioning whether or not this was the best way, I hopped on my favorite Bible website and did a key word search for 'early morning.' It would appear that the scriptures are veritably stuffed with examples of those who rose before the sun to conduct important business with and for God.
Early in the morning:
- Abraham took Isaac to the mountain intending to sacrifice himas God had commanded
- Moses approached Pharaoh to plead for the release of God's people and to warn him of the coming plagues
- Joshua lead the Israelites across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land
- Job offered sacrifices to God on behalf of his children to cover their sins
- Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James and Joanna went to the tomb with oils to care for Jesus' body
And the most compelling:
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark,
Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place,
where he prayed."
It hasn't always been easy or fun, but it has been worth it to meet Jesus in the quiet of the darkness just before dawn. No noise in the street outside, my husband and son still deep in slumber, a hot cup of coffee and my Bible. It is a precious time when I delve into the scriptures and bask in the glow of the God who invited me into this sweet fellowship. I confess that there are mornings when I doze off, and mornings when I hit snooze a few times before I can drag myself out from under the covers. There have also been a few days when I just couldn't do it; but by the end of those days I'm so thoroughly drained by life that I know I won't sleep through the next day's divine appointment. I'm still a night owl; I always will be. But there's something special about the morning.
"Satisfy us in the morning
with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy
and be glad all our days."
I'm reminded of the words of a favorite hymn, In The Garden:
I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
- Do you rise early to meet with God?
- How are the morning hours with Him different from later in the day?
- If you have never given God the firstfruits of your day, I challenge you to do so.