It was 3:29 a.m. and I was wide-awake. The interruption from my deep and
wonderful sleep began at about 2:58 a.m.
Normally when this happens, I am bombarded by a long list of to-dos, a
concern about a relationship, a conflict to resolve, or a deadline to meet.
And usually, I’ll lay awake and pray quietly, “casting my cares on Jesus”
(1 Peter 5:7), praying through the Lord’s Prayer, or through Psalm 23.
Often, I’ll roll over and go right back to sleep. But more often than I
want to admit, I realize that my anxiety is winning over my prayer-in-bed
approach. So I get up and write in my journal, seek God’s direction in His
Word, and choose to trust Him.
Anyone else find yourself wound a little too tight, battling anxiety,
exhausted in your attempts to “juggle all the balls” and “keep all the
plates spinning” in your life?
Like I said, normally when I wake up in the middle of the night,
I’m battling anxiety or that dreaded overwhelmed feeling.
But this particular night was very different!
At 2:58 a.m., I was unexplainably awakened.
And before I could even start to think about anything, my mind was
flooded with specific examples of how kind and gracious my Heaven
Father has been to me.
I recalled how just days before, my one-year-old granddaughter ran to meet
me at the door, yelling, “Papa, Papa!” after I was gone for only eight
I remembered sitting in a hotel lobby with the Living on the Edge board
members as each of us shared some of our deepest challenges. When I left, I
was in awe of being so loved, accepted, supported, and safe that I could be
I thought back to how God spoke powerfully to me through Tony Evans at last
year’s Moody Bible Institute’s Pastors’ Conference. I remembered how He
moved me to completely change my message the next day to encourage and
equip the pastors with amazing results.
I also remembered an ongoing unresolved conflict that had been eating away
at my peace of mind. At the big confrontation just days earlier, I
experienced God at work -- difficult words were given and received, clarity
replaced confusion, and humility reigned over pride.
Finally, I remembered reading a blog post that someone sent to me about the
power and benefit of play, and another blog about the importance of sleep,
and I was profoundly encouraged by the gift of Sabbath and rest. So, I took
two full days off after an eight-day trip. During that time, I didn’t check
email, didn’t solve any problems, and like the “trickle charge” of a car
battery, I felt my emotions and heart restored.
So, here’s my point:
Sometimes we’re so busy trying to “make life work” that we miss the life we've been given!
The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in
lovingkindness. (Psalm 145:8, NASB)
This phrase about God’s kindness is repeated all throughout the Old
Testament. And it also describes our Lord Jesus’ life. It’s also the
Apostle Paul’s motivation for ministry (2 Corinthians 5), and the Apostle
John’s theme in his gospel and three epistles. Finally, it’s what has
brought each one of us to new life.
It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
Undoubtedly, the world is a mess and the needs are great. For many of us,
especially those who are Type A personalities, on our bad days we tend to
be overly driven to meet these needs. On our good days, we’re passionately
filled with God’s Spirit. Yet there never seems to be enough time to make
That’s why it’s important that we don’t miss God’s kindness!
So, right now, I’d encourage you to stop! Turn off the news, the cell
phone, and the noise. Enjoy the blessings God has given you. Live in the
moment. Soak in nature. Count your blessings. Write them down. Give thanks,
Let God love you, heal you, and encourage you. Give seriousness and
intensity a break. Enjoy and affirm those closest to you.
Take time to rest and reflect on how God has been so good and kind to
To learn more about God’s character, check out Chip’s newest book,
The Real God: How He Longs for You to See Him.