I woke up early this morning, waiting for the alarm clock to ring. Lots of random thoughts pushed to gain my attention as the day seemed to want to start ahead of schedule. I struggled to choose whether I could find a few more minutes to sleep; or whether I should enter the hectic day head of me. I wondered how my young 18-year-old son would awaken this morning. His favorite team just lost two brutal games in a row by large margins. It would not be a good day for a passionate fan of this particular team. I wonder if I’d be worried about such things if I were 18 again.
As it is, there are lots of times when I awaken during the night watches. I don’t generally worry about sports teams anymore. There are bigger fish to fry, as they say. There are pressures on the job that seem to draw sleep from before me. There are people needs and personal issues and choices to make; some so simple but others much more complex, which will require more time and careful thinking. Many times there are stupid things I said or did that I wish I could undo that cause me to lie in bed restlessly.
King David seemed to be someone who reflected back on his actions and his decisions during the night watches. He wrote in Psalm 63:6, “I remember You [the Lord] while I’m lying in bed; I think about [meditate on] you through the watches of the night (Expanded Bible). For David, his restless thoughts caused him to consider God’s role in his life, and to meditate on the Lord. David’s desire to hear from God also caused him to consider his own foolish actions, writing in Psalm 32:4, “For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer” (KJV).
The night seems to allow the convergence of peaceful rest with the intersection of the realities of life. This often leaves a contemplative life to consider the Creator of life. The writer of Psalm 119 also contemplated late night meditation, writing in verse 148 (Expanded Bible): “I stay awake all night [My eyes awake in the watches of the night] so I can think about [meditate on] Your promises.” Jeremiah wrote of Israel’s sin and their need to passionately cry to the Lord in the middle of the night for forgiveness (Lam 2:19): “Get up; cry out in the night, even as the night begins [at the beginning of the night watches]. Pour out your heart like water in prayer to [before the presence/face of] the Lord” (Expanded Bible).
Time here on earth is considered by Moses to be just as brief as one of those watches in the night. Moses wrote this in Psalm 90:4, “For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night” (KJV). You would wonder then how our worries should keep us so restless at times, since these things that seem so important at the time just fade into eternity. And in the reality of the here and now, the old saying that “no one sits on their death bed and wishes they spent more time in the office” is so very true. I’m sure they don’t bemoan the losses by their sports team. There are more important things to consider, and perhaps by the end of our lives many things we may regret…unless we re-order our thinking in these night watches, and focus on what really matters. Back to David again and Psalm 63:6, “I remember you while I’m lying in bed; I think about [meditate on] you through the watches of the night.” God knows how we contemplate our days and the challenges we face daily (Psalm 139:2, “You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar” NASB). God does not leave us alone (Hebrews 13:5), and He is all that we need: He is our portion and strength (Psalm 23:1; Psalm 16:5; Psalm 73:26; Psalm 142:5; Lam 3:24).
May the Lord advise and encourage you by night as He did with David (Psalm 16:7, “I praise [bless] the LORD because He advises me. Even at night, I feel his leading” Expanded Bible). Let the thoughts of God’s goodness, His counsel and His new mercies (Lam 3:22-23) offering a fresh start give you pleasant “rise-ups” (Psalm 139:2) when you awaken tomorrow from your watches in the night.