“I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.”
Psalm 16:7 (NRSV)
God doesn’t go off duty at sundown. The psalmist understands from experience that praise and gratitude are present-moment activities regardless of time of day or circumstances. Counsel and change of heart appear. Something astonishing happens when I take this seriously.
The “nowness” at the center of this verse grabs my attention. I know counting blessings is a better sleep aid than counting sheep, but wakefulness isn’t my real concern when I am frightened or stuck on a problem large or small. I crave reassurance and counsel now.
For example, early in my career I was at odds with a coworker over a project we were assigned. I don’t remember the details of the disagreement, but a confrontation loomed the next day. I wanted to be ready for it and began rehearsing what I wanted to say. I still couldn’t get to sleep and began remembering other middle-of-the night conversations with God that transformed something I was stewing about into a blessing.
On this particular night God reminded me that my coworker and I were on the same side and I should start the conversation next day with that piece of information.
Why was I sure this came from God? The unexpectedness of it. Such a notion hadn’t been on my radar. In light of previous unpleasantness it would take a bit of courage. But I did it.
What happened? Letting my coworker know at once that I valued her abilities completely defused the confrontation and set the tone for getting the best work out of each other. There were a few bumps and disagreements along the way but we were delighted and proud of the results.
I call that one more blessing to count next time. And I have.
God of the present moment, we give thanks for your counsel and instruction of our hearts whatever the hour, but especially on a sleepless night. Amen
What current worry awaits God’s transformation?
Written by Nancy Alice Morton