My very favorite time of day is five a.m. Yep, you read that right. (And no, it’s not a typo.) I absolutely love five o’clock in the morning. Unless I was awake all night nursing the baby, my alarm goes off at five a.m. every single day. Even on weekends. And I never hit the snooze button.
I know what you’re thinking— I must be crazy. I never said this was normal human behavior, but it is for me. I’m one of those freakish morning people who pops out of bed with a spring in my step before the crack of dawn. (On second thought, maybe there is something the matter with me.)
I love the morning for all it represents— God’s new mercies, a fresh start, another chance at life, and the hope of a new day full of endless possibility. Isn’t it beautiful how God designed the four seasons of the year, the seven days of the week, and even each single day to echo this newness? God’s brilliance and goodness never cease to amaze me.
At five a.m., everything is still, quiet, and dark yet beginning to glow. No one else is awake to ask anything of me, and I can just be. This is when my mind is sharpest, my heart is purest, and my vision is clearest. I think my best thoughts, write my best words, and pray my best prayers. It’s when I’m most apt to hear God. It is sacred time that I never want to end.
And then the rest of the world wakes up and it’s all downhill from there.
The daily grind begins, and doing life starts to compete with being present. As the day goes by, all that hope and optimism and focus of heart and mind fades, and it gets progressively harder to function at all, let alone be kind while I’m at it. By the time five p.m. rolls around, it’s already dark, only without the hopeful glow, and I’m hangry as all get out. The tug to forfeit the day is weighty and strong. And as I consider the impending marathon that is dinnertime and bedtime, there is a full on war waging inside of me between joy and despair. I’m weary and worn and have nothing left.
And then I hear that familiar whisper reminding me that the morning is only a nice symbol for the new mercies that God provides at any moment of need. We don’t have to wait until tomorrow morning to be strengthened by God’s grace. All that we need to be faithful is available right now.
You see, five p.m. presents me with a daily opportunity. Will I reach for God to sustain me until I can relax into bed? Will I finish this day well because I’m convinced it is a not-another-one-like-it-gift? Will I remain steadfast in my faithfulness because this is what discipleship asks of me? Or will I give in to the despair and give up on the day?
At last, my head hits that pillow and I’m asleep within seconds. Thank God for the gift of sleep! It means we can rest through the night and be held through all that the night represents. It’s an act of faith because it declares God is Lord of all, even that which is dark. Sleep proclaims that while there may be pain in the night, joy comes in the morning.
And, if you happen to be a night owl, then getting out of bed at all is your act of faith. Noon will come too, my friends. And, until then, God has provided us coffee.
Explore more seeds: view all of our articles on spiritual formation here; visit our Soul Care Collective for more pieces that focus on formation, healing, and grace; read about holiness and entire sanctification in this article by Timothy Tennent; read why every Christian is essentially a mystic at heart.