Waking Up God

Wake up, my God, and bring justice!
Psalm 7:6 NLT

I come from a family of nappers.

Power naps. The men on my father’s side of the family believed in them. When supper was over and the kitchen cleaned, my grandfather would sit down on the couch to watch the news or a football game. Several minutes later, his head was bowed.

My father’s profession allowed him time to nap during lunch. And he did. When lunch was over, he retired to the recliner where he took a fifteen-minute nap. No alarm clock was needed to awaken him.

I’ve followed in the tradition. When I can, I take a power nap after lunch. In twenty minutes or so, I wake up. I know how to take a nap.

My wife, on the other hand, doesn’t. Although she claims she is going to take a nap, she really means she is going to sleep for two hours. Waking her goes something like this:

“Hey, babe. It’s time to get up.”

“I’m awake,” she says—followed by snoring.

“Are you gonna get up?

“Give me 30 more minutes.”

After thirty minutes, “Hey, babe. Your thirty minutes are up.”

After several episodes of this, she finally gets up.

God doesn’t sleep—or even take naps. But it seems as if He did to the psalmist. He was being falsely accused of trying to kill the king and take the throne. Although God had selected David as the next king of Israel, David needed God to wake up and deal with his accusers.

God’s time frame is different than mine. To me, it may appear He’s sleeping when in reality He’s only napping. He sees the injustices in the world and those committed against me by others—as He did David’s, but I must trust Him to act according to His timetable, not mine.

What appears as bad or an injustice to me might not to Him—so He naps. I normally thought my parents’ punishments were bad for me but later learned they weren’t. I have to trust God to do what’s best as my heavenly Father.

Nor is revenge mine. David could have dealt with his accusers, but he chose to ask God to instead. God says revenge belongs to Him, not us.

In times of trouble, call out to God. But remember, He never naps or sleeps, and He is always concerned about what concerns you.

Advertisements

Advice from the Wrong Source

Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead.
With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.” But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance?

Isaiah 8:19 NLT

To buy or not to buy, that was the question.

I was three years in on a four-year car mortgage when the transmission on my Chevrolet Corsica began slipping. These were the days when cars themselves were constructed better but the engines weren’t. When the odometer reached 75K to 100K, it was time to trade. Mine was at 60K. But the prices on cars had also risen over the last three years.

So I turned to my paternal grandfather. After all, he had grown up on the tail end of the Great Depression and was familiar with “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” He’d never owned a new car but had been particular when buying used ones.

“You can get your car fixed for the price of one car payment,” he said.

Sounded good, but I was getting the itch to trade cars anyway. This seemed like a good excuse.

“If you trade, you’re going to have four more years of payments,” he continued. I had thought of that too. (This was in a time period when you could actually afford a four-year payment plan.)

Although I went to a reputable source, I didn’t take his advice. I traded a good car that could have been repaired for a modest price for four more years of higher payments. I regretted it later but couldn’t undo my decision.

Isaiah warned his listeners about going to the wrong sources for advice. Instead of going to a living God, they were checking with mediums who supposedly consulted the dead for advice. Their actions were ludicrous—as were mine when I turned down sound advice.

Seeing signs that read Spiritual Advisor isn’t that unusual. I’ve never been to one, but many have. Going there would be no different than Isaiah’s peers who consulted mediums. God is the only adequate and dependable spiritual advisor. While I can’t visit Him in person or hear Him audibly, I can know the mind of Christ.

God is my source for sound advice, and He gives the means to discover it through His Word, prayer, mature believers, and Christian counselors. Even some secular sources—when filtered through God’s Word, have sound information for making life decisions.

Make sure you consult the right sources when you need advice.

God of the Deep

For you look deep within the mind and heart, O righteous God.
Psalm 7:9 NLT

A surgeon’s eyes look where others’ eyes don’t.

While in his sixties, Dad was diagnosed with a defective heart valve. He could have a mechanical valve or a pig’s valve implanted. He chose the mechanical. Shortly after the surgery, the valve malfunctioned. We took him to Atlanta for a second surgery.

In both instances, surgeons were able to see what I never have—and don’t want to: the inside of a chest. Scalpels cut apart Dad’s chest and rib spreaders separated his ribs, allowing the doctors to see my father’s heart and all other organs that God hid behind the rib cage. They could watch the heart beating, see the valves working, observe the blood pumping and flowing.

Had I been there, I wouldn’t have watched long before passing out. But the doctors and nurses take a regular view of people’s insides. They see what most people never witness.

God has the ability to do the same. He made us, knows every intricate part of our anatomy, and understands how all the parts work and fit together. He knows which bone is connected to which bone—and didn’t have to attend medical school to learn. But His look goes deeper than the physical.

God looks into my mind and heart. Not merely at all the electrical forces taking place in the brain and not just at all the pumping of blood that occurs in the heart. He sees with eyes I can’t. God sees the motives behind my actions. When I do a good deed, He knows if I’ve done it for honorable reasons. He knows if my heart is sensitive to others’ needs and if it’s tender toward Him. He sees the hurts and the damage done by others.

Pretending is a waste of time. God gets to the heart of the matter. I may fool others, but God knows what’s really pumping inside of me. My heart and mind are open books before Him.

The good news is that what’s broken is fixable—just as my dad’s heart valve was. Improper motives, unhealthy emotions, hardened hearts, hidden agendas, unforgiveness, hurts. None of these pose a problem for God. All I have to do is allow Him to work on me.

God sees what you can’t in your heart and mind. Go to the God of the deep for the healing you need.

The Letter

Direct your children onto the right path,
and when they are older, they will not leave it
.
Proverbs 22:6 NLT

A solitary letter, addressed and dated, lay among other stuff.

The text from my daughter read, “Hope chest treasures.” Along with it came a picture. My father had made her a small cedar chest she called her hope chest. In it, she placed things she hoped to use when she got married, along with other sentimental items. I recognized the handwriting on the letter as mine. The date was eighteen years earlier.

“What does the letter say?” I texted back.

“You don’t remember,” she responded.

“Of course not.”

“Well, you can read it when you come to the house.”

I hurried my wife, and we made our way to our daughter’s home.

“Where’s the letter,” I quickly said.

She handed it over, and I eagerly opened it. She and I had just finished a five-day backpacking trip. In the letter, I told her how much fun I had had, how much I loved her, and how I hoped she would always feel comfortable coming to me when she needed to talk. I think my hope that she placed in her hope chest came true.

Parenting is tough, but the writer of the proverb says training children correctly has its advantages. The proverbs in the book of Proverbs are not absolutes but norms. Usually when a child is taught the right way, they follow it—even though they may temporarily stray. I am proof of the truth—as is my daughter. My son is still straying.

An African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” And it does. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, school teachers, church teachers, deacons, preachers, etc. Training them spiritually is essential, but so is training them to use the gifts and talents God has created in them. This means allowing them to follow their God-ordained employment or professional path, whether it’s the one I’d prefer or not. God doesn’t want a world filled with only preachers, evangelists, and missionaries.

Training children takes time. It’s easier to throw a tech gadget their way, to sit them in front of the television, or to simply bail them out when they get into trouble. Teaching them and creating an atmosphere where they’ll feel comfortable talking requires effort and time.

God is more than willing to give you the wisdom to raise your children. Depend on Him for it. Don’t try to go it alone.