“. . . knowing the time, that now it is time to awake out of sleep. . .” (Romans 13:11)
One of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (at least for some people) is difficulty staying awake. Yet despite that symptom, one of the side effects of part of the medications used to treat Parkinson’s is (of all things) sleepiness. In fact, warning labels on some of the medications speak of the danger of falling asleep without notice.
I happen to be one of those who battle that sleepiness. As I battle each day to stay awake physically, it has put me to thinking just how much God’s children battle falling asleep at the wheel spiritually. Because of such, I’d like to take the next few months to address the issue of being roused from our slumber.
I am afraid that there are a number of things lulling us to sleep spiritually at a time when the risk is too high and the dangers are too near. Did you know that there are at least sixteen injunctions in the scripture to awake? I don’t know that I’ll try to address all sixteen, but there are some very critical ones that we need to look at together as they particularly relate to our day and age.
The first one I’d like to address with you is, awaking from the dream of the “good old days.” Virtually every week I run into at least someone who longs for the good old days. I am afraid however, that instead of awakening to the day of present opportunities, far too many of those longing for the good old days are actually desiring to slumber in a day(s) that has/ have been idolized into being so much better than it was or they ever really were.
We’ve created in our minds a day that really never was. But worse than that, we long to bask in those days rather than face the challenges of this present age.
Let me see if I can show you what I mean. We long for the good old days, when soldiers were dying by the thousands battling in World Wars? We dream of the good old days when children were crippled with polio for lack of a vaccine? We long for the good old days when at two in the morning we were still sweating it out, praying to be able to fall asleep without air conditioning? We yearn for the good old days when we had no indoor plumbing or hot water on demand, and the whole family took their baths in a #2 wash tub?
Likewise, we idolize the good old days when our church services drew big crowds, but half the men might slip down to the spring to enjoy “the recipe” during the services? We dream of the good old days when the church house was packed, but a good number of folks were there only because social stigma forced them to be? We long for the good old days when the pews were running over, but more than half came simply because it was the best entertainment available at the time? We yearn for the good old days when the numbers may have been bigger but the conviction of God or the love of the Lord was not what compelled them to come?
Instead of slumbering in the past, we need to wake up to the present! Let’s consider that a little closer using the scripture above. Paul tells us that “knowing” the time. But the “knowing” he refers
to here is not the word we generally would think of as “knowing”. It is not the Greek “ginosko”, which relates more to factual information. It is instead a word more related to seeing, “eidotes”. It literally means: “having looked upon”, “having contemplated”, “having perceived”, “having understood”. So then, we need to ask, “Having perceived what?” The TIME! And this time, is not “chronos” time, but “kairon” time. It is an opportune time! It is an open window kind of time. It is an appropriate season time. So let me share with you, Ledford’s reviled translation of this passage:
“And, having perceived this opportune time, that hour out of sleep we should have already been roused.”
Just as soon as you and I realize what a present opportunity lies before us, within the hour we should have already been awakened out of our sleep. We are already a “day late and a dollar short”. In other words, “time’s a wasting”. There is no time to day dream about earlier glory days! Now’s the time to “carpe diem”—seize the day!
I don’t know about you but I feel the words of an Easter song rising from the depths of my soul:
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of Him who died for thee! And hail Him as thy matchless King
Thro’ all eternity!