The Three Hour Night

I felt so depleted and wasted. I was frustrated at myself all week about poor food choices and few workouts and not being able to be with friends and not pleasure reading and an exhaustive amount of reading assignments and keeping up with a photography business and…

Lack of sleep definitely hinders any effort to get oneself out of an emotional spiral.

Thursday morning. I wake up at 5 a.m. Shower. Memorize. Rewrite. Memorize. Eat breakfast.

Ah, I made it to breakfast. I didn’t take any notes with me to breakfast because my head physically hurt. I walked out of the dining hall and looked up.

How did I miss this?!   

h o w

A Thursday night consisting of three hours of sleep to prepare for a doctrine test will probably mark the lowest point in my year at Covenant.

Fog – the obvious byproduct of living in a cloud on top of a mountain – was rolling just behind Brock Hall and the morning sunshine reflected off the fog. It had rained the night before and even the puddles in front of me reflected gold. But the trees were blooming pink flowers – not just sprouting pink buds. Full, pink flowers. How did I miss this first (and early!) sign of spring?

All I talk about when I mention photography in the spring is how beautiful it will be to have the pink-flowered trees on campus and the red bud trees all throughout the nearby city. What I had looked forward to most in the next season had already began and I missed the evolving transition.

That morning, nature was so still, and I was so loud inside with all the things I needed to accomplish and the goals for my health that I wasn’t meeting. In this moment, I heard His mercies are new every morning. For this tired college student, God showed His kindness in creation and somehow I had a smile on my face as I walked to the first class of the day, even though I felt wasted.

In a chapel, our Chaplain Lowe began an illustration explaining he has a big whiteboard in his office and it is covered in words. A student walked in and said “Oh my, that’s stressful.” See, for Lowe, (as he said) it’s easy just to see the whiteboard for what it is and not read from it. Similarly, he said,

God has literally written his testimony into everything around us, and if we just walk through and don’t see the testimony that’s written, we’re seeing the whiteboard without the message of the whiteboard.

We’ve established that three-hour-night was the lowest time (physically) for me. I had been walking with a mission everywhere I went, literally running myself down going from location to location and never taking a moment of rest (away from the screen) to look around at the mercy around me.

Whether physically or emotionally you’re facing a trial, you need to be reminded this God provides beyond enough to still rest and you don’t have to worry about missing out. God doesn’t always give commands that you understand. The to-do list is long… the expectations from yourself and others even longer. Yet if you believe you are in a trial and you are being tested on some level, know that it is for the purpose of refining your character, not discerning your character. In Exodus, God mentioned two things in regards to the gift of manna in the wilderness:

  1. I will provide the manna every morning.
  2. Do not keep the manna overnight.

In this way, the Israelites would have to know their food was from God because every morning He provided abundantly, but by evening the Israelites would become empty again. The Israelites wanted to gather everything and be done with it.

What makes you want to keep the manna and be done with trusting God for the next day’s supply of strength, peace, and blessings? 

This is what I am trying to answer. It’s mornings where the fog is golden and I’m reminded to look up that I know these tests lead to nearness with Him. These tests are about refining and growing.

Saundra BarkerComment