Last night with Kansas wind whistling through the open window and Hubby by my side serenading with his rhythmic snoring, I was Sleepless in the Prairie. I tossed; I turned. I prayed for everyone that came to mind. I reflected on my day, and planned out the next, yet I remained Sleepless. I finally decided to go down stairs and read.
I thought about finding something boring to read, but my Bible caught my eye first. There’s nothing like reading God’s Holy Word in the middle of the night with no disturbances. Opening my Bible I felt prompted to revisit Hebrews 12, a familiar passage full of challenges and guidelines. The beginning of the chapter talks about discipline, and verse 10 and 11 really stuck out to me.
“…but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Can you imagine the change in our homes and relationships, if we face those unpredictable and inconvenient challenges that seem to trip us up with an attitude of JOY? Not a fake joy with smile pasted on face and saying it’s a wonderful day, when in reality everything that can go wrong is. Rather a joy that comes from knowing that God is bringing us closer to sharing in His holiness through discipline. With this attitude the harvest of righteousness and peace will be produced much quicker than when we complain and worry.
As I continued to read, verses 14 and 15 stopped me short.
14 “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
I began breaking this verse down with questions. Do I really make an effort to live in peace with ALL men? How many times have I argued my case out of selfishness instead of being a peacekeeper? Holy? How can I be holy, and what does it mean? Well, I found my trusty “Webster’s Vest Pocket Dictionary” and looked it up. Holy – “evergreen tree or shrub”. Oops! That was holly. Holy – “sacred, spiritually pure”. Though I will not reach perfect holiness here on earth, striving to follow Jesus’ example and being obedient to what the Bible instructs is my goal.
Verse 15 says “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble.”
Have you known someone that was bitter, or have you been bitter? Bitter people are not pleasant company! As I pondered these verses that followed one another, I realized that at times one may be “living at peace” with others, but resent being the peacekeeper. When that happens the bitter root takes hold, and it is difficult for others to see Christ.
At this point, I had to stop and search my own heart, and have a talk with God.
The wind was still blowing, Hubby was still snoring, and I felt challenged, cleansed and renewed. I felt invigorated enough to clean house from top to bottom, but it was very early morning, the alarm would be ringing to soon, and I still had not slept! So Sleepless in the Prairie returned to bed and promptly fell asleep.