Do your mornings need Reforming?
By Erik Retallick
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” ~ Lamentations 3:22-23
I don’t know what you are like when you wake up, first thing in the morning? Except for a short spell at school when I used to do a newspaper delivery job and got up at 5.45am, mornings have never been the time of day when I am at my peak performance (to say the least!).
Even at the age of 13-14 I think I must have done it on automatic pilot. There is a tea mug available to buy here in the UK which has a picture on it and some writing with it which says “I hate people who sing in the mornings!” I think I may buy one at some time, just to drop a hint.
Our old Pastor who has now moved to another Church used to really emphasise how it is so important to get each day off to a great start with Prayer and Bible reading, and for me this is still a constant struggle. No matter how early I go to bed the night before, this formula doesn’t work for me.
However, looking at and reading Psalm 139 tells me that we are individually made, and I think that after God made me, He must have thrown away the mould, thinking, “there isn’t room in the world for two people like that!”
There is a verse I love in Proverbs which says, ”If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.” I think you know from what I have already revealed which of the two people I would be in this illustration!
It is because of my weak point, that is, when I awake in the morning, that I take great comfort from the verses in Lamentations quoted at the beginning of this article. These thoughts and words stand out like light from a lighthouse at sea, in this tiny book, squeezed between Jeremiah and Ezekiel in the Old Testament.
The book, written by Jeremiah most probably, because of its similarity in literary style to the book of Jeremiah, shares his overwhelming sense of loss that accompanied the destruction of Jerusalem, its temple and temple worship, to which Jeremiah was an eye-witness in 586 BC. This date was the earliest it could have been written, the latest date being 516 BC, when the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem was dedicated, after the Jews’ return from captivity.
To suddenly see Jeremiah’s affirmation, written as he was led by the Holy Spirit in chapter 3 verses 22-23, gives the sign in the midst of darkness and hopelessness there is hope and future prospects of change in the circumstances of ruin and captivity of Judah by the Babylonians in 586 BC.
I see a parallel sign of hope in my personal situation, my attitude in relation to the beginning of each new day. After all, our faith is based on facts not feelings. The great fact stated in these verses, which I cling on to for dear life, is that God’s love, mercy, grace and compassion are renewed every morning. It is because of His love, grace and compassion that I have even woken up to see a new day in the first instance.
Everything else is a bonus and a great blessing to me, knowing that I am saved by Jesus’s death on the cross, have new life as a result and am blessed by God’s great grace and love! I pray that I am also enabled by His Holy Spirit dwelling within me to be a blessing to others I meet and contact during the day.
Yes, I know that my life needs reforming in the morning, (I like things with rhymes, they are useful sometimes!) but I know that God loves me now, just the way I am. Maybe one day I will walk out on the street early in the morning and greet my neighbours in a loud and hearty voice, but knowing what it feels like to be on the receiving end of such friendly gestures from others, maybe I will turn the volume and heartiness down a little and save it for later in the day!
Eugene Peterson expresses Proverbs 27:14 in this way. “If you wake your friend in the early morning by shouting “Rise and Shine!” it will sound to him more like a curse than a blessing (The Message).