Monday, May 26, 2008

It's Saturday Night... And Sunday's Coming!

It was Saturday evening after supper and I’d been staring at my computer screen for quite some time. Nothing was happening. I was scheduled to speak at our partner church in Toronto (Lisle Memorial Baptist) the following morning, and nothing was happening! I’d been at it on and off virtually all day and had no more than a few paragraphs written down. Scary? You bet! But it’s been like this for as long as I can remember.

Pastors that I know all write their Sunday morning messages earlier in the week. One even has his done by Monday! I’ve tried that. Several times. I never get anywhere. It’s ALWAYS Saturday night. Try as I might to put something, anything, together earlier in the week, I merely end up wasting my time. Nothing comes of it.

You’d think that after all these years, it would get easier. Well, it has to some extent. I’ve learned to not waste my time trying to work on a message during the week. I make better use of the days, including doing a wide variety of reading in books, magazines, and on-line to fill my mind with ideas and potential message material. But as the deadline approaches, I still have to fight off the panic attacks!

All day on Saturday, I ask God for help and jot stuff down. But it never starts coming together until after supper. Weird, eh? Could it also have something to do with the good meals Kathy makes on Saturday nights? No doubt :) Whatever the case, the words and ideas start rolling, and I begin to write in earnest. Sometimes I’ll hit a mental block and can’t seem to go on. Sometimes I get lost in the details and lose track of the overall picture or direction. And it’s getting close to midnight.

Often, I’ll have to leave it unfinished and go to bed. The first time this happened, I was sick with worry. But it was 2 a.m. and I just couldn’t go on any more. My brain had shut down completely. So I asked God to wake me up in time in the morning and give me the rest of the message then. And He did! It was absolutely amazing!

And He’s done it numerous times since then, to the point that when it’s late and I’m not getting anywhere, or I’m just too tired to go on, I quit trying and simply go to bed to get some much-needed sleep, confident (more or less) that God will wake me up in time and give me what’s needed to finish the message. He’s never failed to do so yet. It’s just the way He works with me.

Some of the greatest difficulties I’ve encountered in the Christian life have been as a result of trying to be a Christian like everybody else. The above is just one example, trying to put together messages earlier in the week like others do. It took me a while to figure out how God works on this in my life, and when I did, things went much better.

Same with devotions. Everybody said you had to do them first thing in the morning. Oh boy, did I try! On the farm, I used to get up before 5 a.m. on cold winter mornings, light the wood furnace, and try to spend an hour or so with God and His Word before it was time for the morning milking. Besides shivering so badly that I could hardly concentrate, my mind was already racing ahead to what I had to do that day. Warmer temperatures didn’t change that. Gradually, I discovered that evening was a much better time for me (though not too late, or I’d be drifting off!). Nowadays, mid-afternoon tea-breaks are best if I can get them and am not on the road somewhere.

Anybody else found out that God works differently from the accepted norm in their lives?

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