Before I Sleep
It’s very interesting how inspiration comes to us.
I visited friends last night, who live on a mountain here in northwest
Arkansas. They got some ice and the trees were encased
in the stuff. It looked like a Currier & Ives scene. As I got out of the car, I
turned and looked into the deep woods that surround my friends’ home. I
immediately thought of the Robert Frost poem, “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy
Evening” (which he wrote in the summer
Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is in the village though.
He will not see me stopping here, To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer, To stop without a farmhouse near,
Between the woods and frozen lake, The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake, To ask if there is some mistake. The only
other sound's the sweep, Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to
go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.
Then this morning,
it just so happened that my Bible reading was the marvelous Mark 13, in which
Jesus tells his disciples what will happen in the end.
Now, bear with me,
because I hope to make a point.
The disciples were
soon-to-be wanted men. Their lives would be in danger because of their faith.
They no doubt had anxieties. Peter would deny the Lord he loved, and his misery
we can only guess at. These men knew that God was going to bring this world to
its finale, and they longed for it!
I’ve often wondered
how each man felt during his ministry travels: dangerous areas to be in;
betrayal; cold; hunger.
But they pressed on.
As the rider in the poem said, they had miles to go before they slept (rested in
the Lord’s presence).
Now notice too that
Jesus told his followers that the
would be destroyed completely, but that He would take its place as the path to
God. He told them specifically that the
would be utterly thrown down, not even a stone left on another.
This morning, a
friend emailed me about her thrilling trip to the
Mount in Jerusalem, just two months ago. She and her
friends prayed, facing the Mount of Olives,
which is where Jesus gave the aforementioned “Olivet Discourse.”
I’ve been there as
well, and the thing that strikes me is that if you ignore the buildings there
now — the Dome of the Rock, Al-Aksa Mosque, and various smaller structures — you
will notice that the place the Temple once stood is flat as a table-top. Just as
Jesus predicted, the Romans in A.D. 70 pulled down the Temple. They did such a complete job that no
one today knows precisely where it stood.
This is amazing,
friends. A striking fulfilled prophecy today right in the heart of Jerusalem! This is God shining a high beam
right into our faces, shining a light into the darkness so many find themselves
in. He is saying, in effect, “Look, I’m showing you that I keep my promises, and
even though you are weary and wonder if I’m coming again, I Am!”
hundreds of fulfilled prophecies should give us comfort in these dark times,
these dark and snowy woods that seem to want to draw us in, lure us to alleviate
our own suffering by just curling up under a snow-covered tree and giving up.
That’s what the poet was telling us.
He had things yet
left to do, though, to finish before being called home.
So do you.
It appears the enemy
is working overtime to discourage believers. The attacks appear to be increasing
in ferocity and length. He is trying to get your focus off a number of things,
especially the fact that God is our great salvation in every area.
The enemy comes to
us and says, Look, you’re tired. Just lay down here and get out of the game. You
can’t handle your problems; you’re cold and tired. Just curl up under this tree
Frankly, there are
people out there who are suicidal over the economic problems we find ourselves
in. As we’ve discussed the last few times, you can see plainly in the Bible and
in today’s news that God cares for His people. Remember the Gospel account of
Jesus praying the garden the night of His arrest? He told the Father that His
soul was overwhelmed to the point of death. Indeed, He was facing the ultimate
But He overcame it!
His pain was a little while, then He went into glory.
The Lord shows us
every day in myriad ways that He loves us. Just the other day at church, I
looked over at my precious four-year-old niece, sitting on my son’s lap. She
smiled at me so sweetly. I thought of my late father, who would have loved her
so much, and the fact that our Creator is going to reunite us one day soon.
It is moments like
this that remind me Who is in charge. It is not the enemy.
I have strayed from
my normal topic, specifically
watch, because the season is stressful for so many. But, if nothing else, we can
see in the intensifying pressure on Israel every day that this is simply
a fulfillment of prophecy. We are in the season of victory, not defeat.
There are reports
that the incoming
U.S. president will ramp-up
efforts to pressure Israel
and secure a deal in the Middle East. He is
more predisposed than most to be hostile to Israel, his AIPAC speech
notwithstanding. There is nothing biblical about him.
I also read an
interesting op-ed piece in our statewide newspaper that makes an interesting
case: because American democracy and free market ideas are now being spread
further over the globe, our uniqueness as a superpower is waning. Interesting!
Now perhaps we see why the
does not figure, at least overtly, in the end times.
My friends, our
entire world is about to burst in prophetic fulfillment. Can you not see that
God is working His plan, and will take care of even you? He knows where you are,
knows your name, knows your thoughts, fears, anxieties, joys and sorrows.
In your anxiety,
take a moment to thank God for who He is, and for what He is about to do.
We have just a
little way to go before we rest.
Praise the Lord at
this Christmas season!