What’s Keeping You Up at Night?
NEW FEATURE: For a few weeks I’m going to put discussion/reflection questions at the end of these briefings which you can use for yourself or, better, to lead a small group discussion on the topic. Please let me know if this is something I should keep doing.
A friend asked for advice on whether to loan money to a Christian brother to prop up his over-leveraged business. I suggested that such a loan wouldn’t be good for our mutual friend. It wouldn’t solve his problem. It would only postpone the reality of the good things God wants to do in his life through this painful trial.
Loaning him the money would only enable our friend to “hide” for a brief while longer from the good God who wants to love him so much that He removes the shakable kingdom our friend has been creating–the thing that is keeping him from a full, total, complete surrender of his life to the Lordship of Jesus.
We all from time to time have things that keep us up at night. It could be the economy, money, your job, a failing business, a spouse who is sick or breaking your heart, a child about to become a dropout, or dozens of other trials, sorrows, and yearnings. What’s keeping you up at night?
The business of God is soul-making. Our loving Father is sovereignly orchestrating all human events to bring us into right relationship with Him and right relationship with each other.
Last Friday I taught the story of Jesus sending the disciples into a late night storm that he could easily have prevented (Mark 6:45-52). The disciples were straining at the oars most of the night. Then Jesus appeared around 3:00 a.m. and told them to take courage and not be afraid, and the wind died down.
The disciples exclaimed, “Truly you are the Son of God.” There are some things about Jesus that we just learn better in the middle of the night. His deity is magnified. We notice that He can see us in the dark. He sees us in our storms.
Yet He is just as likely to leave us in our storms longer than we would like. Why? Because He is sovereignly orchestrating all human events to bring us into right relationship with Him and right relationship with each other. When we cry out to Him, He does rescues us–but usually not in the way for which we had prayed.
A Christian friend received a vicious email from a mutual Christian friend, and he forwarded a copy to me. I thought about calling him on the spot, but waited until the next morning. When we did connect, I learned anxiety and self-doubts had kept him up most of the night.
If I had known the torment he was about to experience, I would’ve called. If it was up to me I would’ve tried to help my friend avoid such anguish. So why didn’t the Holy Spirit prompt me to do so?
Apparently, there are some things about Jesus that we just learn better in the middle of the night. God did rescue my friend, but only after a tortured night.
As Christians, we have been given the privilege of “sharing in the fellowship of His sufferings” (Philippians 3:10). Today my friend feels a much deeper love for Jesus, because he too has been up all night in the garden of betrayal. Today he has a deeper grasp of what it means that Jesus was reviled, persecuted, detested, maligned, falsely accused, and repugnant to many.
Let’s not be too quick to rescue others–or ourselves–from the suffering that is the gift of God that can teach us to love Him more.
And my over-leveraged friend? Jesus will rescue him too–right after the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings. The same goes for you and me too.
His and yours,