A chill mist hung in the air as I lay sprawled on the damp ground.
My eyelids grew heavy, my head even heavier, nodding clumsily under the weight of my Army helmet. It was the middle of the night in the thick of summer training, and I was assigned to keep watch at the border of our makeshift base. I was succeeding only marginally.
I strained my weary eyes, considering my responsibility for our team’s “safety;” somewhere out there, other soldiers roamed, pretending to be the enemy. I nodded off again. Suddenly the underbrush rustled, and I snapped awake in alarm—then sighed in relief as a beady-eyed squirrel scampered off.
"He neither slumbers nor sleeps, the guardian of Israel" (Psalm 121:4).
Even though I could barely make it through my shift, the Lord reminds us today that He is ever awake and never off-duty, even in the darkest nights of our souls.
He guards us both tirelessly and relentlessly wherever we invite His protection. The Lord never slumbers through our most troublesome trials. He will never decide to take a break in the light of our joy and jubilation. Not for one second of our lives will He take a posture of detachment or disinterest. No, the great Guardian of our hearts stands faithfully by, protecting us day and night and in between. Even should we sleep—oh, how often we do!—He is ever alert.
He remains steadfast not in obligation, but out of pure love.
He knows that—left to our own devices—we are sleepy, messy-hearted, prideful sowers of division. Even if our spirits are willing, the flesh is so weak. But when we consent to His guardianship over our lives and our hearts, He does more than simply guard.
He covenants with us an adoption of unbreakable love.
In this school of love, He tenderly converts our hearts. He leads us patiently into spiritual alertness, so that we who were once asleep in our sin can be transformed into children of light: His mercy-filled, clean-hearted, peacemakers who will wake up to an eternal day with Him.