GOD WOKE ME UP
Updated: Dec 31, 2021
Learning to Respond to the Spiritual Alarm
It is 5:30 a.m. I'm not normally up this early but today was special. There was something God wanted me to do that couldn't be done from a deep sleep. It was about two hours ago that I woke up. This itself is not unusual. At my age I get up a couple of times a night to visit the bathroom. What made it different was that my sister was immediately brought to mind and at the same time a Christmas song was playing in my head. When these kinds of things happen I figure that God is telling me I need to pay attention.
I laid back down and sent my sister a text message. She recently had surgery and since coming home has had problems sleeping. So I thought perhaps God wanted me to send her a link to the song to comfort her. I did this and decided to listen to the song myself (video below). About midway through my phone started to ring. I thought, "maybe she wants to talk." When I picked up the phone I was surprised that my 3:30 a.m. caller was my neighbor. I have mentioned her before in an earlier post. I think she was surprised that I answered, as there was a long pause after I said hello. I don't think she was expecting me to be awake.
Yesterday as I was leaving for work I met this same neighbor outside on her way to the store to buy beer. She is an alcoholic and I knew she was in trouble when she was not headed to work, but to the liquor store. I prayed with her before I left and would have stayed with her, but my boss is away for a few days and I am in charge of the shop. I felt bad, but checked in with her a few times throughout the day. By her text messages I knew she would probably end up in detox again for the fourth time this year. She calls it "frequent flyer". Her struggle is something I cannot relate to. The only addiction I have ever had has been to Dr. Pepper. Clearly this is different.
I heard this small voice in my head telling me to go downstairs and wait with her until the ambulance showed up. Wagsley of course could not let me venture out into the night alone. She was sitting on her porch on a chair shaking uncontrollably and looking horribly lost. The sight of Wagsley made her smile and in his sweet intuitive way he went to her to give comfort. It is amazing to watch this dog in action. I went to her too and told her to stand up. I put my arms around her and felt her shaking body trembling in my arms. I knew I needed to pray. So I prayed for her out loud and felt the trembling stop. It was the coolest thing I had ever experienced.
She sat down again and said, "I was just praying asking God where He was and to show me that He was still here." I laughed and said, "He woke me up to show you just that!"
We talked and walked and waited and her condition deteriorated rapidly. She kept bashing herself and she showed me a text that her daughter had sent to her that broke my heart. She was broken and unwilling to see herself as anything but a failure. The text was so hurtful, but I could understand her daughter's frustration with a mother who chose alcohol over her family.
After a few minutes of encouragement she said I was like her uncle who keeps telling her to surrender her life to God and be healed. I said, "your uncle is wise. You should listen to him."
I asked her if she had heard of the sinner's prayer. She said she had not. She is catholic by her upbringing and did not know that prayer. I typed it out and sent it to her in a text. I explained to her that when she was ready to surrender her life to God and be healed that she should open that text and read that prayer out loud. I reminded her that the only way to freedom is Jesus. She knows this. We have talked about it before.
At about 5 a.m. people started heading to their cars. The strangest thing happened. She walked away from me and started asking each person she saw if they had a beer she could buy from them. With each rejection she went to the next person. I watched in sadness. This addiction has her so enslaved that when freedom is just a prayer away she would chase the addiction to avoid the freedom. The entire time she walked from stranger to stranger Wagsley walked with her. His head and tail were down. I wondered why. He usually doesn't leave me, but now he was not leaving her. He stayed with her until I called him back.
It was at this time that I realized I couldn't force freedom on her. She had made her choice and I had to let her be. I heard God say, "all you could do was tell her. She has to do the rest."
Imagine Jesus there watching the whole scene. I see him crying for my friend and neighbor. I see his hands that were reaching out to her, drop slowly to his side as she walked away in search of alcohol to stop her shaking. It has to break his heart when those he loves chose the things that are the cause of the pain they are living under, rather than choosing Him, the answer to the suffering.
Imagine Jesus setting that alarm for you. What will you do when he wakes you at 3:30? I am glad that I got up. I am glad that I listened to that voice in my head. I don't know what impact this will have on my neighbor. I can only hope and pray that she reads that prayer and finally surrenders all of that struggle to the only one who can take it out of her life for good. She is a child of God looking for her father through an empty amber beer bottle. Her view is murky and distorted.
There is a reason God called you and more importantly a reason he woke you up in the wee hours of the morning, and it has nothing to do with your bladder. Listen closely.
John 6:35 "Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."
Revelation 3:20 "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."
2 Corinthians 6:2 "For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation."