April 1, 2008

Insights at Three O'Clock in the Morning

Occasionally I find myself awake at three o’clock in the morning—not on purpose, just because. (Maybe it’s a by-product of getting older.)

I think that 3:00 a.m. is the worst time of the day. Falling right in the middle of sleep, it’s an abyss between the day past and the day to come. It’s dark and still—and it's easy to fall in.

Lying in bed, awake yet delirious with sleep, sensibility is in short supply and irrationality takes over. The concern(s) of the previous day rush to the forefront of my thoughts and even minor worries become overwhelming anxieties. And major worries become crushing. The “voices” that can’t get a foothold in the light of day, stake a claim in the darkness. Life seems hopeless and problems insurmountable. I don’t know why this dark time happens. I just know that it does.

Maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about. …But maybe you do.

And maybe your overwhelming desolation doesn’t just come as a thief in the night, but makes a home in the light of day as well.

Bible writers are no stranger to anguish. Perhaps no book is more sorrowful than Lamentations. The writer, probably the prophet Jeremiah, is in his own dark place. Overwrought by God’s judgment and destruction of the temple, he grieves—and for the first 64 verses of Lamentations he does nothing but that. Of God he says, “He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship. He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead.” (3:5-6) Indeed, Jeremiah’s spirit is crushed.

And then something amazing happens—in the midst of his darkness, he remembers the light. “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (3:21-23)

Even in the midst of desperation, he clung to the truth that God is a god of hope, of love, of faithfulness and of deliverance. His compassion never ends.

In our times of darkness it’s easy to forget the light. But whether our troubles last a night or a season, we can do as Jeremiah did. We can “call to mind” and have hope in God’s great love and faithfulness. As the rising sun often settles our minds, the light of God’s mercies—new every morning—quiets our spirits.

Based on those verses in Lamentations, the beloved hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” was written by Thomas Chisholm, a Methodist life insurance agent. This ordinary man was inspired, not by a dramatic experience, but by his daily experience of the constancy of our awesome God. His poem beautifully calls to our minds the hope we have even in our shadows.

For great is His faithfulness, no matter what time of day.

4 comments:

danregan said...

Kel,

Your faith continues to inspire me. Love,

Dan

Debbie said...

Kelli, this is one of my favorite verses!! Lamentations 3:22-23. There is something so soothing about those words “Through the Lord’s mercies we are NOT consumed”. How many times do we feel like we are being swollowed up?? God tells us NO, that is a lie! “His compassion fails not” How many times (if we’re honest) have we felt failed by God? God tells us No, that’s a lie!! “His mercies are new every morning!!” Thank the GOOD Lord for that!!

There was a time in my life I woke up a lot (pregnancies). It would become so frustrating. At the time I was involved in a bible study and I use to keep it by my bed. When I woke up I would start doing the study. I agree my mind was not much of anything at 3:00 AM but it gave me something to do!!

Thanks for sharing this very special verse and your heart! I’ll pray for no 3:00 AM wake ups!! I’d say feel free to call, but DON’T (HA!)

Love ya, Deb

Katherine said...

Kelli-

I wake up at 3:00am too! I doubt its an age thing- I've been doing this since high school!
What I've learned with waking up around that time is mediation. It's amazing that we all have certain times (I call quiet times with God) during the day. With some, it involves mornings. Some people find the afternoons better. Others find that the evenings before going to bed works the best. For some strange reason, I spend moments with God during those wee hours just to meditate and focus. I find that 3:00am is not the "dark place" anymore. It's when I wake up at 5:00am to get ready for work that I find the "dark place"- lol!

By the way,Lamentations 3:22 is an excellent verse. I wish that I could apply it better with my life challenges.

Keep on inspiring us!
Katherine

Peggy said...

Kelli.....Once again you have been more than just ordinary!!!!!You seem to know what to say at just the right time.
These verses in Lamentations are two of my favorite, and believe me, they bring a weary soul so much brightness and hope.
We should all get together for a 3am small group, can you imagine how great that could be. The whole world asleep, and just a small group spending the hours before daylight with God!!!!
You, Dear Kelli are very unordinary, and I love how you express your love and devotion to our Heavenly Father.
Waiting for the next installment.
Blessings and Love, Peggy