I woke up early on Shabbat (Sabbath) in Israel.
My first thought was, “Why am I awake so early?” It was the one completely “free” day of the trip. Even if we had been touring or serving, I wouldn’t have to be up so early. I had plans for the day, but they were very casual, relaxing plans. I suppose the fact that I had woken up so early the previous morning, too, added to my initial sigh of tiredness.
Then I realized I wasn’t actually very tired. Looking at the clock made me think I was tired, but I felt rested. The hours I had been keeping made me think I should be tired, but I didn’t want to close my eyes and try to sleep more. I looked outside to see colors begin to creep across the sky.
Once I had gotten up the previous morning, I was glad I was awake early. I had a sweet time with God and was ready for the day ahead. He prepared me in ways I’m sure I don’t even know. Perhaps I was a bit more patient. Maybe I was able to notice the details of His world in a fresh way: the beauty of His creation or someone’s need. I know I had learned many spiritual lessons the previous day. What if I had missed out on them because I missed out on His preparation?
I was ready to start my day, no matter how early it was, because I didn’t want to miss out on a single thing He had planned for me. Throughout the day, I was so thankful I didn’t let the clock guide my sleep pattern. It was a sweet morning that stretched into a wonderful day.
It’s a challenge to be thankful when a situation isn’t what we would consider ideal, such as when we’re tired. And tiredness doesn’t seem nearly as challenging as frustration, pain, confusion, doubt, or pressure. Yet we don’t have to run away from those situations and feelings in order to find gratitude. When we settle into God’s presence and rely on His truth and perspective, regardless of the situation we find ourselves in, we change. The situation may not change, but God can change us.
If we let Him.
I don’t want to miss out on any part of His plan. At times, I think I do. I want Him to make it work another way, because I don’t like the situation, whether it’s a big crisis or a little inconvenience and discomfort. But I’m thankful He knows more than I do. I’m thankful He has control.
I’m thankful for His alarm clock…even though, at times, it’s alarming.