I’ve been awake since a little after 3:30am. I woke up for no discernable reason. There was no specific, dark-hatted, bandana faced bandit that came in and stole the rest of my sleep, just the realization that I was done resting for awhile.
I’ve grown up in a church movement that has often tended to err on the side of the “spooky”. I don’t say that with any malice or anger, I’m just putting it out there. I’ve heard story after story of demons behind the fright of rattling bushes and angels popping car tires to rescue people from certain death in the their commute had they left fifteen minutes earlier. These stories have been a companion with me on some level for most of my life. The underlying theme begins to feel like the entire spiritual world is a game of chess where angels and demons don’t “move” the pieces, they have to figure out ways to cause them to move to the right spot. I do believe in spiritual beings that exist in some way out of humanity’s natural sight. I would have a difficult time believing the Bible to be true if I didn’t believe in these creatures. However, the chess tournament in the heavenlies seems to be a stretch to me at best, and really I don’t see that kind of unknowing manipulation described in the Scriptures, particularly not from angels.
I say all of that not to create a post, or an argument, on angels and demons. But as I was awakened this morning I was reminded of another story that I heard, and granted this one I put more confidence in as consistently legitimate. People would tell of nights when they would be jarred out of sleep by an intense burden to pray for someone or something very specific. Not having gone to bed with any of these things on their minds they were left to credit God with laying so great a burden on their soul for prayer that it transcended their need for, or ability to, sleep. Again, this I believe to be a very sincere and accurate thing. I believe that the Scriptures are clear that we do, at times, find ourselves carrying spiritual needs, either ours or someone else’s, that are weightier than our desire to sleep. So whether they keep us up late into the night in intercession, or wake us up in the middle of the night to be wrestled with, these experiences are legitimate.
My mind drifted to those “spiritualized” explanations (again, the terminology is not used to cast doubt on all spiritual explanations for things, but to categorize them) as I got out of bed earlier because I didn’t feel a specific burden to stand with someone or something in prayer, nor did I feel like there was any angel of dark or light moving me around the “game board”. I was just awake. And it struck me that as important as how we react to discernably real spiritual encounters, is how we react to those times when the moment is not charged with the hair-raising electricity of the supernatural realm. What I am going to do with the extra hour and a half that I have this morning is an important question.
I chose, this morning, to pray, to read, and to bask in the silence of a house in the throws of slumber. I had nothing burning a hole in my heart to pray about, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t have things that needed to be worked through with God, the most important thing being my moment-to-moment need to get a clearer picture of who He is so I can continue to grow and be transformed. I didn’t have any friends or loved ones with life or death needs right now that I’m aware of, but I have friends and loved ones who need prayer for the “regular stuff” of life…and isn’t it usually the regualar stuff that is more difficult to deal with in the end? I live in a world that masochistically beats itself with hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and earthquakes. This won’t stop until the day that the supernatural world tears the fabric that blinds us to it’s constant reality and a King comes to rework the entire place. Until then, the world needs prayer.
I ramble a bit this morning. But I would just encourage you friends, there doesn’t have to be a hundred pound weight on our chests for us to need to pray or glean from the Scriptures or other books of worth and merit. Our character is defined, or at least revealed, far more by what we do in those moments when we have nothing to do, than when we have much to do. I want to live in such a way that I default to doing things that are redemptive and eternally valuable. And I’ll probably continue to blame flat tires more often on roofing nails than guardian angels, but I am, admittedly, relatively young and stupid.