Saturday, August 25, 2012

Africa: Mornings

"The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness" -Lam. 3:23 One of the most beautiful times in Africa is the morning. For that matter, it's one of the most beautiful times anywhere. Most of us aren’t really into early mornings. I am convinced that my "biorhythm cycle" doesn't operate well as the sun is coming up. I'm not really sure what that means, but I've never been at my best before seven o'clock. But Africa never looks better than when the sun is rising above the horizon of the savanna. What is it about the morning time? What makes the daybreak such an appealing time for enjoying the day? It's new. We all long for the opportunity to start over. In any board game, there is a feeling of relief when it's time to reshuffle the cards and start the game over again. It's a chance to right what we've wronged. It's chance to learn from our mistakes and make the next day better. It's fresh and clean and unchartered. It's God's design to reset his creation and let it all begin anew. It's just another example of God's grace in action. It's quiet. The night before we feel asleep in Brian's house in Botswana, there was music coming from the local hangout spot on the main street. Apparently people all over the world like to dance and "carry on" (as Brian would say). But when we awoke in the morning, we only heard the sound of African bird's chirping and the sounds of the river flowing behind Brian's house. The sound of nothing was beautiful. Quiet and stillness are always powerful. Our lives are so noisy. We need the morning to quiet our souls. It's peaceful. The crazy pace of the day cranks up later, but daybreak is tranquil. Peace is different from quiet. Quiet is on the outside. Peace is on the inside. We're peaceful as we wake from tranquil sleep and start afresh. Our thoughts are fresh and new. The world's noises of the day haven't cranked up yet, so there are few interruptions to the quiet inside. It's inviting. Not being a "morning person," I rationalized that I could communicate better with God later in the day. But too often I'd let the day's pace overrule my quiet time with God. Several years ago, I was challenged by a mentor to get up early and accept God's invitation to be together. In Psalms 5:3, the Psalmist declares, " In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch." There's nothing legalistic about having to spend time with God in the morning, but it has changed the quality of my time with Jesus. Including God in the beginning of my day makes a huge difference in how I approach the schedule ahead of me. I'll never forget the sights and sounds of the African mornings. But mornings are truly beautiful worldwide. They really are a gift from God. Audit your morning time. Is it a frantic mesh of alarms, breakfast, showers and rushing to work or school? Perhaps you could allow 45 more minutes to relax, soak up the quiet and spend time with God. Teach your kids to create gaps in their schedules to rest in the mornings. May we all let the sunrise be a God-given time of rest and peace. Whether it suits our biorhythms or not. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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