Monday, August 2, 2010


Have you ever been awakened by an unwelcomed noise and you weren’t sure what it was? Such was my experience recently while on vacation. Our room was on the fifth floor of seven. I was awakened from a dead sleep at 3:00AM by a noise that at first I thought was the alarm clock. But then I determined it was not that, but I never fully determined what it was. I thought it could be someone using their in-room Jacuzzi, and then I thought it was someone flushing the toilet, and then I thought it was just a noise the air conditioning unit makes on occasion.

But regardless of what it was, IT was not the issue. The issue was that it kept reoccurring every half hour or hour, I’m not sure as I wasn’t keeping track of it by the clock. What I am sure of is that just about the time when I would doze off to sleep the noise would suddenly wake me.

My first reaction was definitely a negative one with the question “Why?!” But then as time passed I began to think through a more positive reaction that would prevent me from getting out of bed later that morning in an ill mood. For one, this incident was something beyond my control at the moment. I call it an “uncontrollable”. And life is full of them. Some are less severe than others, but some are extremely severe, such as terminal cancer. What occurred to me gives me an analogy that I can apply to the “uncontrollables” in my life.

As I lay in bed I wondered how I could derive any comfort and peace through the uninvited interruptions to my precious sleep. The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 2:1, “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?” I would have to say at that moment when I was trying to sleep only to be suddenly shaken out of it that I did not feel the least bit “encouraged or comforted or tender or compassionate.” But those are the things I want. That is what I strive for. That is what I need – in every circumstance, not just the good ones.

And so it came to me that in situations such as these there are at least five things I can do to respond in such a manner so as to find comfort and encouragement, thereby warding off anxiety and a negative mood.

The first thing I realized is that the uninvited noise would either change or end. Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3:1 “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” It begins and it ends.

The second thing that came to mind was the principle that I reap what I sow. Galatians 6:7 says, “You will always reap what you sow.” I know I’ve annoyed many people in the past and still, I’m sure, get on somebody’s last nerve on occasion. And therefore I accept the fact that I’m doing some reaping.

The third lesson I took from this is that God is sovereign and He allowed it. He had a reason, a reason in line with His purpose for me. He knew it was going to happen even before I ever thought about going to this particular vacation place, even before I was born. The Bible tells me He has me surrounded and what comes into my life is only what He allows. Psalm 139:5 says “You are all around me on every side; you protect me with your power.”(GNB) I am in His charge and under His everlasting care.

The fourth thing I got from this is that God will in some way use it for my good. Romans 8:28 says, “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” It will benefit me. It will teach me.

The fifth thing I realized is that God will use the incident in some way to make me more like Christ. Romans 8:29 says, “For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to him – and all along he knew who would – should become like his Son.”(LB) Whether the situation is large or small, major or minor – God will use it to conform me to the likeness of His Son. He promised.

If I will remember these things when the uninvited comes into my life I will deflect the anxiety and negativity that so persistently tries to control me, and I will instead reflect the joy of Christ’s presence in me.

I know I’ve shared my personal experience but I’ve done so hoping that what I’m learning may be beneficial to you as well.

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