Since it rained here during the night and the sun never peeked out from the clouds this morning, I slept in today. That may sound
lazy crazy, but that’s just how my mind determines whether to get up at 5:45 a.m. or 7:30 a.m. I normally arise early so I can go for my walk, water my flowers, and have my quiet time outside on the back porch. But this morning two of the three were not going to happen. So I chose to sleep in.
When the phone rang at 8:00 I was still in my morning fog. You know the one where your voice is not your own, your eyesight is a little blurry, your brain isn’t registering in complete thoughts much less complete sentences and your gait is decidedly awkward. My mom, who lives in the eastern time zone three hours ahead of me, effused her midday alertness and enthusiasm over the phone. I struggled to recognize my own mother’s voice, remember what day it is, and answer her string of questions coherently. By the time our quick phone call ended and I hung up, I was actually awake. And I was jealous too.
Of all things, my mom had gone on and on about how much she enjoys her early mornings at the camp ground where they are enjoying a week away (away from what I don’t know. What exactly do retired people get “away” from?)… (I bet I’ll get some comments on that one!) She talked about getting up early, fixing her cup of coffee and heading outside to have her devotional time. She repeated over and over how much she enjoys that time alone before my dad arises and joins her – a time of solitude, fresh beginnings, a clean slate, quiet and peace.
Meanwhile, my dogs jumped around my feet, whining to be let outside. My daughter lumbered down the stairs in her own morning fog and flicked on the television. And my computer screen advertised the multitude of e-mails that awaited me. I had lost my opportunity for that early morning moment of solitude and calm. Oh sure, I’d still have a devotional time with my Bible and prayer, but it would be accompanied by the sarcastic voices of the Gilmore Girls, the whines of my dogs, and the sloshing hum of the dishwasher. No peace and stillness for me.
In Psalm 5:3, David writes:
I suppose the “debate” over whether a Christian really needs to have a morning quiet time as opposed to a devotional time any other time of the day is the one argument I have heard the most in Bible studies, Sunday school classes, and women’s retreats. At one spring retreat I helped plan, author and speaker Edwina Patterson based her entire four-message program on the premise that we should spend time with the Lord early in the morning rather than later in the day. I don’t need to tell you that feelings bristled and attitudes swelled up like sprained ankles that weekend! Some folks just aren’t morning people and when you tell them they need to have a quiet time in the morning you might as well be telling them they have to cover their heads at church, observe the Passover, and quit eating bacon. They scream legalism and shut that conversation down.
And I get that, I really do. Our daily time with the Lord should be anything but a legalistic and regimented time. It should ooze with enthusiasm, a genuine desire to “be there,” and willingness.
But I also believe there is quite a bit of merit (and biblical precedence) for meeting with God early in your day, before the routine and urgent grab your focus, before the noises of the day drown out His voice, and before the brash voice of the world has the opportunity to lull you into complacency and even desensitize you to His gentle, quiet voice.
Author and counselor Selwyn Hughes states my case even better than I can: