Have you ever woke up in panic over something you have forgotten to do?
I woke up with a jolt of fear this morning around 6 am as a picture of a candle burning flickered across my mind. I immediately jumped out of bed and ran upstairs to find the candle I had lit 8 hours earlier was still burning on my desk. I had been writing and the candle was sitting behind my laptop unseen in the lamplight. It didn’t register with me to blow it out as I headed downstairs to take a break to watch an episode of The Mentalist with Jason. I had planned to return to work on a new blog post but an hour later found myself tired and fell asleep.
How careless could I be? That moment of forgetfulness could have literally caused my house to come crashing down into ashes. While I slept unaware. As I surveyed the scene, I noticed a window blind cord dangling not too far from where the flame had been. Stacks of notecards and paper litter my desk. What a disaster waiting to happen.
As I started to waken, the flame danced across my mind. I believe the Holy Spirit prompted me to rise in that moment. To see the warning for potential danger. To not allow me to easily dismiss the danger and return to the safety of my slumber.
And in that moment, I realized a few things:
What a gift the Helper is as we walk this fragile life. If it were all up to us and our fallible minds, emotions, and wills, we would never make it a day on our own. God sustains all things. If we live, it is because of Him. I shutter to think of all the mistakes I have made that He has had to protect me from.
What a gift it is to walk with God. To go to bed in peace and rise up with Him foremost in our minds. The moment of danger was pre-paved with many morning conversations through the years. I knew He was talking to me, because I am His, and I know His voice. I thanked Him all the way as I ran up the stairs until a returned to my bed. How gracious and kind He is to me.
How often do I slumber through the night without a thought of the dangers that seek to destroy? We forget to be on guard against the forces of evil working to destroy our relationship with God and others. But Satan is seeking those he can devour. This is a greater picture of the way we often live our lives.
I Peter 5:8 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. “
Our adversary looks for those who neglect to check their “candles” – are they left unchecked and unattended? Is the flame about to burn out and hidden from sight?
Luke 12:35 – “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning.”
Jesus is the light of the world. He lives in us as believers, and so we have the light burning within us too. But sometimes we don’t allow Jesus to rule our hearts and minds, and the light wanes. We have to be in tune with the flames of our faith.
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands,” 2 Timothy 1:6
As Christians, we often fail to consider how our relationship with Christ is going and do a heart check. Just as I should have walked back through the house checking for burning candles, we have to watch for signs of unattended needs. What is in our hearts will come out.
We can do this by being aware of our emotional reactions. If someone says we have been irritable and rude, we need to consider attending to our light. Those who refuse to evaluate their emotional state and be aware of their inner frustrations, anger, sadness, or lack of hope are right where the adversary wants them. How do we respond in the moments we know something isn’t quite right? Will we do the necessary work to investigate what the Spirit might be trying to bring to our attention? These feelings are warning signs. They are a means of grace in our lives. Don’t foolishly dismiss the behaviors that come from within. They are a barometer for some greater issue that needs to be addressed. Yet, thankfully, even when we fall asleep, He watches over us. Grace indeed.
He is speaking to us. He wants our best. Will we listen when He speaks to us and heed the warnings?
Don’t be neglectful and refuse to wake up when the candle is burning unattended for too long. Look and listen and rise up from your slumber. The price of peace is work the effort.