Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Way to Wake Up

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love . . . (Psalm 90:14).

A question: How did you wake up this morning?

The question can be answered in a couple of different ways. You may describe how you felt when you woke up. You may have been well rested or sluggish. You could have woken up sore from a previous day’s exercise. You could have woken up dreading the day or eager for what you have planned.

You could also answer the question by describing the means by which you woke up. You could have been brought to consciousness by someone gently shaking your shoulder or by the cry of a baby. You might have heard a neighbor’s dog barking. The sound of your phone or a text message might have abruptly ended your slumber. There are many different ways to wake up in the morning.

Perhaps the most common is the use of an alarm clock. They may be old fashioned clangers with big hand and little hand that tell the time; they may display bright digital numbers and wake you to traffic and weather reports or your favorite music. Upon reflection, what is most striking about alarm clocks is the very name of the device.

Webster’s New World Dictionary provides six definitions of the word “alarm.” Of the six, only one refers in a neutral way to the mechanical function of a clock, using words like “bell” or “buzzer.” The remaining five definitions are all variations of the word “fear.” To be alarmed is to be threatened. Alarm is the “fear caused by the sudden realization of danger.”

So many of us wake up alarmed . . . and we live that way through the entire day.

Even though not threatened by imminent trouble or harm, we often feel the weight of the day from our first conscious moments. Our minds race with uncertainties that have not been resolved. We anticipate interactions with difficult people. We feel ordinary and relentless pressures about money and parenting and not exercising enough. We wake up alarmed – or just as likely our inner alarm kept us from sleeping in the first place.

There is a line in Psalm 90 that is worth memorizing. It is a short prayer, a simple petition to be uttered at the beginning of the day, just as you wake up. “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14).

This brief prayer reflects God’s will for you today. Wake up satisfied with his love. Even when the days holds difficult things for you, know that his love is steadfast and not fickle. God’s love is sufficient and will sustain you through whatever this day brings to you. Knowing this, you can live the day with joy and gladness.

As you go to bed tonight, go ahead and set your clock. But before you fall asleep pray Psalm 90:14. And when the clock goes off, do not be alarmed. Be satisfied with his steadfast love.

So back to the question: How did you wake up this morning?

“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” Grant it even now, in this day, through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.

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