I was in a deep sleep but could feel my mind reluctantly being pulled back to consciousness. I was awake—sort of.
I was at least becoming more aware of my surroundings. Why was the light so bright? My mom was standing in my room. What was she saying? Why was she talking so loud? Doesn’t she know I’m trying to sleep? She left.
I lay there for a moment, and my brain finally caught up with reality. Although she had already left the room, I could only now hear what she had said. Like when you watch TV, and the audio isn’t synced up with the video, you hear the actor’s voice after seeing their muted lips moving.
“Get up,” she had said, “someone has broken into your car!”
Is this some kind of joke? The sleep started to roll off my mind and body as I got up and moved. I walked out into the living room. Mom was on the phone. The front door was open. She looked at me but kept talking to whoever she was with on the phone. I went out the front door, and my car was sitting where it always did in the driveway. There was a screwdriver lying next to the open driver’s side door. I looked in and immediately noticed a big hole where my stereo used to be. I ran back into the house, where it was now evident that my mom was on the phone with the police.
“Where’s Dad?” I asked, still trying to figure out if this was some freakishly real dream.
She moved the phone from her mouth and replied, “He went after them.” Apparently, our chocolate lab started barking and freaking out while I was asleep. By the time my dad got up, he saw some kids had taken it upon themselves to teach me not to leave my car doors unlocked.
As he stood out in the driveway in nothing but his silk boxer shorts, examining the damage to my car, he saw a very suspicious-looking vehicle drive by very slowly. He ran into the house, taking the time only to grab the keys to the family minivan, and it was on.
He followed the culprits on a high-speed chase all through the neighborhood. It ended when their getaway car had had enough and quit—giving them no choice but to jump ship and run off under the cover of night.
My dad had saved the day. I couldn’t have been more proud of him at that moment. I also couldn’t have been more disappointed in myself. I missed all the action. I was unable to help my family when they needed it the most.
I fear that this is the condition of many in the family of God today. We have grown complacent, fat, and lazy, enjoying the American Dream while the thief breaks in. Ephesians 5:12–17 says, “But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
The time is short. When I was a kid, a year felt like an eternity, but here we are, nearing the end of another year. If you’re like me, it’s likely that as you look back on this last year and the years that preceded it, it can feel like you have been robbed. The demands of life have pressed down on us, causing us to miss what matters. We can’t change the past and don’t know what the future holds, but we can determine how we walk into that future.
I want to encourage the reader and myself to awaken from our spiritual sleep and blissful ignorance. To realize that time is short and the days are evil, so what is God’s will for my life? What is his will for my family, and how can I walk faithfully in that? Let’s determine not to get caught up in the many things that don’t ultimately matter.
1 Peter 1:13 tells us to be sober-minded and to prepare our minds for action. Too many Christians have been lulled into a state of complacency while we are robbed of knowing the true satisfaction and fulfillment that can only be found in Christ. When awake, we can’t help but act on the truth of God’s word. We can’t help but love righteousness and hate evil. We can’t help but set our minds to action, to be used for something far greater than anything we could do within ourselves.
Realize today that life is so much more than just the daily routine. There is an all-powerful, loving God who wants us to know him in a personal way. It goes far beyond anything we can see, smell, hear, or touch. Do not sleep through another year; instead, make the Creator of time Himself the center of your pursuit.
Trevor Rickard is an Associate Pastor at New Life Christian Fellowship.