by Rev. John Farmer
Day Follows Night
Where is my new day? Often this is not a philosophical query for me. It comes after a restless nighttime of tossing and turning. Could be that I am just so nosey that I don’t risk the world to continue without my supervision. I rise to begin my day often when the sun and moon are changing watch. I need no alarm, save the cheerful perking of the coffee pot down the hall.
I don’t like medicine: neither prescribed or over the counter. Therefore I’d rather not depend on pills to sing my lullabies. Perhaps there are many like me who just require less sleep than others. Besides, there is always a nap time, right? Say, maybe that’s why my TV has a remote, eh?
Though I favor star-filled skies, I do so enjoy the early light of dawn on a cloudy day, when shadows wisp across the heavens. The shades of grey remind me that my decisions are frequently made from monochromatic palettes, while my soul desires Technicolor radiation. Pay no attention to me; I also love rainy days.
Now half through my seventh decade, I have accepted the fact that I am a light sleeper. On those frequent occasions when something wakes me I now crawl out of bed, search for my glasses, don a robe and tread the floorboards.
Dawn is such a quiet time. The house creeks and moans a bit. On a summer’s day the air-conditioner hums coolly. On a cold winter’s day the house is toasty thanks to its alter ego—our heat pump which stands sentinel. Songbirds, chirping the sun awake, issue forth spring mornings. Fall mornings (my favorite) arise slowly: branches droop, the dewfall is heavy, and the heads of shrubs and flowers are bowed, quietly awaiting the light and warmth of day.
On muggy summer morns the weight of the awakening day sits heavy on our chests.
I never feel lonely while the world sleeps. Late night to early dawn is a wonderful time to sit and pray. Dawn is a such more reflective time. It is never my darkest hour. For me it is a period of recognition that God is creating me a new day: a day in which I need strive for his will, not mine, in order to achieve all that is promised me. I know my God is in charge of whatever may unfurl before me on any given day. Life has taught that the more I lean upon him the easier it is to face all of life’s situations.
Weather permitting I sneak out the side door and plop upon the stoop. I make a conscious effort to listen, not to speak and disturb the quiet. Over and over God has spotted me there and cleared my feeble mind of yesterday’s confusion. You already know of my love affair with the front porch. God distills previous distractions and sharpens my focus without the confusion most new days afford. I am thankful that he has time for me while building another day.
Dawn on the side stoop is profitable as I inventory our prayer list at home and church. I focus ever so hard upon the names and lives for those who have lost the desire and/or ability to pray for themselves.
I always try and pay my respects that as my day begins others across the world will be offering nighttime prayers. How I wish for them good rest…isn’t it wonderful to have a God in all places at once and at the same time?
My first sermon, at my first church, on St. John’s Road, Elizabethtown, Ky., was about how either early in the morning or late at night my spirit finds peace in a first person narrative of Psalm 121:
I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where comes my help.
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let my foot slip—he who watches over me will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over me—the Lord is the shade at my right hand; the sun will not harm me by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep me from all harm—he will watch over my life; the Lord will watch over my coming and going both now and forever more.
That simple recitation, applied personally to me, fuels my day and sends me forth and lays me to rest. When I wake I take it up again. When life presses in and trials persist I lift it as my shield. When doubt weighs in and my faith is slack, it becomes a vitamin to my soul.
Back to my earlier statement: Night becomes day soon enough. Oh yes, and another new day follows. We might ask: Am I ready for a new day? Even more salient could be have I allowed God to walk ahead of me into our new day?
I pray God’s richest blessings upon you as you wrestle with God’s truths for the living of every new day.