Monday, December 22, 2008

In Darkest Night (or just hanging with Dark Knights) Pt. 6

I am still working as a Night Watchman, and boy let me tell you, it gets tough. This past week, we had TWO heavy snowfalls and blizzard-like conditions so just doing my standard rounds was shovel, shovel, walk carefully, stay warm against a sub-zero wind chill, drink lots of hot coffee and report on activity like so (all times 'a.m.'):
12:30 Scan. All Clear. No activity.
1:00 Patrol and Scan. All clear. No activity.
1:30 Scan. All clear. No activity.
2:00 Scan. All clear. No activity. Temp 8 degrees.
.
.
.
4:00 Patrol and Scan. Snowplows clear road. No activity.

Exciting, eh?

Thankfully, I am set up with a good internet connection. I can write. I can post a message or two - but I will get no active reply until the NEXT night.

It is a cold, dark night and I am all alone. When I get home, after I get my landlady to work, and I have breakfast, I can sleep - if I darken all my windows and unplug my phone. So I must enter yet ANOTHER cave.

I tell you, it wears on a man's soul something fierce, doing this 'Batman' gig.

I also found out, in an ugly way, my patience has worn thin. I blame this on all the caffeine I am drinking, along with a decided lack of REM sleep. After 12 straight days of work, I finally got three off in a row. I slept 14 hours and it was good. I needed to recover my mind.

Lack of sleep causes irritability and increased acts of anger. We need to rest our minds so we can be 'emotionally sane'. I was wondering why this was so, why we need to sleep, dream deeply and shut off the world.

I believe it is because God did not design us to live in a fallen, sin-filled world, and sleep is a mercy. I believe He knows it is a daily fight, and He uses this time to restore us, to refresh us, to do for us what we cannot do and even to speak with us.

God caused a 'deep sleep to fall on Adam' - and then took from his side what He woudl need to give Him a perfect mate. Note that God caused this sleep. What was the problem that God had to cause it? Was it because Adam did not need to sleep? Or very rarely, unlike us? No - I don't know. But I find it interesting to note God laid him out so He could bless him with a wife.

Jesus, unfallen and perfect, slept through a STORM! But I believe that weariness was born of pouring Himself out into other lives, healing them, teaching them. To understand this, just imagine you taking care of 12 children who each have their own ideas of what they should do - and while doing so, you have to handle a wedding banquet with 5000 in attendance, serving each guest by hand.

I have been on mission trips and preaching in the jail where the Holy Spirit grants me strength and power so strongly I CANNOT sleep when I get home. This is not just my excitable Irish nature. This is something deeper. I can feel when I get too overcharged in the physical realm and get hyper, because I crash so hard afterwards. A sugar high or caffeine high will do this.

But the joy and power of working in the Holy Spirit? Well, you don't crash from that. You just realize you are completely awake and feeling strong and vibrant. You also don't feel hungry, either. Its like you were part of something or Someone that has filled you to the brim with energy.

There is more to the body than food. In Batman: Year One, Frank Miller has a powerful scene in which Batman crashes - literally! - a dinner party by the corrupt and oppulent society that has been destroying Gotham with its greed and excesses:
Ladies and Gentleman - you have eaten well.

You’ve eaten Gothams wealth,
it’s spirit.

Your feast is nearly over.

From this moment on...

None of you are safe.


Remember how Jesus loses all interest in food - and his weariness - once He has enlightened the woman at the well and she's run off to tell others about Him (see John 4:1-32)? His disciples say "Rabbi, eat something!" Jesus replies, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about!"

Strangely, this one particular gift is utterly overlooked by many professing Christians. They are scared of being weird, I guess. I know what they mean, but it is such a clean and powerful joy, I cannot resist it anymore.

And I want to tell you, that with catching up on my bodily rest, I have come to realize that what I need most of all, and more of, is the power of the Holy Spirit. I need Him to get me through these dark nights.

Perhaps like me, you are cold and alone and hanging around on the internet till the wee hours of the morning. Perhaps you even call yourself a Christian. I would like to very kindly offer you a gift. I did not pay for it. Jesus did, and He knew in a dark and cold world, we would need it.

"If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"

Though you may have been told you have the Holy Spirit when you were baptized, I will offer this clarification: just as you ask for more food, more intimacy and more strength in times of despair or need, you should ask for more of God's Holy Spirit. Ask Him to empower you to do your daily duties, or share Christ's love or speak to a difficult person or to aid a neighbor who is all alone. You will be utterly astounded at discovering God will give you strength and ability FAR beyond your natural self.

We 'dark knights' need all the help we can get. Not a better diet or more or less caffeine (though those are wise choices for the body), but something - Someone - above and beyond the flesh.

Go ahead and pray this prayer with sincerity:

"God - I need You to help me. Please give me your Holy Spirit so I can do all the things You want me to do. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen."

Those dark nights will be a lot shorter. For this reason He came and died - to pay for us and to empower us to NOT be like the rest of the world.

In that given strength, we can bring light into darkness. Each and every day, each and every night.

Amen.

2 comments:

Resilient Hawk said...

No bad guys racing to your workplace on chilly nights?

Justice said...

Not yet.

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