Zero Dark Thirty
Early morning thoughts
Dr. David Campbell
Most people who know me, know I wake up early. I never planned it this way, it just kind of happened. It gives me a long stretch of time each day to read scripture and pray. I try to spend some of that prayer time just listening. Some mornings I hear things. Some mornings I don’t. My contributions to our blog will be some of those things God has said to me in those early morning times. Here is an example for you.
Something had me thinking about what it means to follow Jesus. To be a disciple. This was on my mind as I tried to simply listen. And that day God spoke. Now I don’t hear an audible voice. But God can be pretty loud without being audible. So God speaks that morning and says something along the lines of, “Have you ever noticed how you follow me?” And I said, “I beg your pardon?” And God repeated Himself. (God has to do that a lot with me!) “Have you ever noticed how you follow me?” What do you say to that? I was wise enough to stay quiet.
And God said, “It is like you are walking backwards. You are moving in my general direction, but you are not looking at me. You are looking at those things you should be leaving behind. You are looking at those parts of your life that you know you should give up for me, but you don’t want to let go. So you are, for the most part, looking at them while you are moving in my general direction.
Every so often you look over your shoulder to make sure you can still see me and you are still moving toward me, but then your gaze goes back to the things you should be leaving behind.”
Let me pause here. I know you want to ask, “What kinds of things are you looking at? So let me tell you: It’s none of your business. It’s between me and God. And the things you are looking at are none of my business. Now as your pastor, if you choose to tell me because you believe it will help you and you want me to pray specifically, I am happy to listen. But they are only my business if you choose them to be so. Otherwise, they are just between you and God.
But I’m thinking I’m not the only one with this struggle. I’m thinking that there are at least one or two more of you out there who also try to follow God by walking backwards. You know you need to go in that general direction, but you aren’t quite ready to totally turn away from things that you know are not in God’s will for you. So you are looking one direction while occasionally glancing over your shoulder to make sure you can still say, “Look at me, God! I’m following You!”
I finally had the courage to say, “What are you trying to say here, Lord?” And he quoted a song for me…
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of this earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace..
Thank you for these words! They're a very good reminder to keep me on track and focus on Him.
What a meaningful message. I struggle with focusing on worldly “things” and “my” goals instead of on Him. As I am trying to grow in Christ this is a great lesson on how to look to Him for help and guidance in what he wants for my life, not what I would plan.
At a Women’s conference this past weekend, this message was loud and clear. One of my take homes is the phrase “Cling to the crisis or cling to Christ”. Am I more focused as in obsessing on how to fix crisis or am I trusting, looking full in His face.
Thanks for sharing, David. This one sort of smacked me in the face.