I asked Will to write another devotion again. I just LOVE when he writes. He inspires me daily and the things he write never cease to motivate me, encourage me, & remind me of Christ's love for us. If I haven't mentioned it enough, I am so proud of him.
night shift. |nite shift| noun. 1. the time in which a person works at night. 2. a totally different animal than any other type of daytime job; a beast.
(excerpted from the Will dictionary)
There is something about those midnight hours that seem longer, colder, and uglier than the commonly dreaded nine to five workday. Every second that goes by your body reminds you that you should be dreaming of sunshine and rainbows, not steadily working the night away. I became acquainted with the night shift in the fall of 2009, at the fairgrounds of FedEx. Every night I would ride the bus over to our input, where thousands of containers were waiting to be unloaded. From the ceiling of the input hung old TV monitors which displayed two times: The first time displayed was the current time; the second was known as yellow time. Yellow time is the estimated time in which all of the flights with all of the containers that hold all of the boxes will have landed and been unloaded. Yellow time was subject to change, depending on flight delays and weather, but as real time approached yellow time, the yellow numbers would change to red. Red time meant no more estimations, but at this time all of the flights would be safely landed. Essentially, red time meant done time. Around this time of year (Christmas) when more and more packages are shipped, yellow time has a bad habit of pushing farther and farther back. In my input, often as red time appeared we would let out a cry of rejoicing, knowing that we would soon be finished. Red time was what we longed for, it was the comfort that pushed us through the final minutes of the night, it was assurance of going home.
I will say that without a doubt the hardest part of the night shift was watching the yellow time change, when you realized that there was much more work to be done. But, no matter how long the delay, we knew that eventually red time would come. We always had those red numbers to keep us going when the going got tough. Red time marked the end of the night-the sunrise.
Psalm 130 describes a similar picture, a man waiting for his night shift to end. Longing to see the sunrise, knowing that rest is soon to follow- a watchman waiting for morning. Here the author is painting a picture of longing, of desperation, of the deepest desire to find rest.
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than a watchman waits for the morning, more than a watchman waits for the morning.”
Psalm 130 powerfully depicts the author’s pure desires to know the Lord. Waiting for His presence, for His grace, for His peace. He is simply, passionately, longing to spend time with God. It is such a beautiful picture of the relationship that we have with God in Christ--knowing that his word is our hope, that we can find rest in His comfort.
There are a lot of things that you can find hope in, or even temporary peace. Maybe you keep yourself extra busy, and the satisfaction of doing keeps you motivated. Perhaps you find peace in buying things, or friends, or relationships, or money. There is so much stuff marketed in our world to make life better, but it is all a false pursuit of happiness. You may think you’re catching a glimpse of the sunrise, but the reality is it’s just a guy holding a flashlight. TRUE joy, true ending of the night comes only from knowing Jesus. Our lives are completely empty without Him. In Psalm 130, the writer gives his reason for such hope and peace.
“Out of the depths I cry out to you, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you O Lord should mark iniquities, O Lord who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.”
The reality is we are all living in the night shift. The tragedy is that many of us are not longing for the sunrise. Living for the moment, you press on, hoping to gain what you can by being a good person, or helping others, or obtaining stuff. There is nothing wrong with any of these, but if you miss the point then it is empty.
“If you O Lord should mark iniquities, O Lord who could stand?”
This verse is humbling, eye opening, and life changing. We fall so short of God’s glory, yet almost every day we live to match up to it. We live so that others might think much of us, or be proud of us, or motivated by us. When, the truth is, we are nothing. We are filthy rags in the presence of an Almighty God. The only hope that we have is His forgiveness. Oh that we would recognize how much we need a Savior! We are in such a bad habit of overlooking our own depravity. We hold ourselves in high regard, overlooking the things that we do wrong and accountability for our actions. Without the forgiveness of sins we have nothing. Without Jesus, there is no forgiveness of sins. We are nothing apart from Christ; the question is why do we live like we are?
This is a time of year where focus is put on many things: time with family, presents, traveling, and great food. My encouragement to you is that aside from all those things you simply long for the presence of the Lord, that you would be reminded of the redemption found in Jesus. Philippians 2:5-7 reads,
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death by a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
I am constantly amazed at the love of God. I am constantly amazed by His forgiveness. I have a wonderful life with so many blessings. Great wife, great family, great dogs, but without Christ as my hope it all amounts to nothing. I am longing to see the sunrise. I am so thankful that Jesus is the red time in my life-I know that rest is coming. If you do anything this Christmas, I hope that you long to know Christ more. That you understand from His sufferings we gain life. This life is only the beginning. Joy comes in the morning.
Isn't he great? Sorry for the 3rd post in a day, but I just couldn't wait to post this! Merry Christmas!