I love orange juice. I consume about a gallon a week of the stuff. Even if I eat nothing for breakfast, I have to have my orange juice. I don’t know what exactly it is that makes me love it so much, but I just really do. Last Saturday I drank the last of the gallon I had, and until yesterday I didn’t have any because I kept forgetting to stop by the grocery story and buy some more. Every morning I’d wake up, go into the kitchen, open the refrigerator to take out the juice, and come up empty-handed. I can’t convey the disappointment I’d feel upon realizing that the juice I’d been craving wasn’t there. I’d try drinking water or fruit punch or something else, but nothing was the same as the pleasure of drinking that tall glass of orange juice. So you can imagine my delight when I woke up this morning and was able to have my orange juice. It was an exciting moment.
As I was driving to school this morning something occurred to me: I get more excited about drinking that orange juice every morning than I do about spending time with Jesus. In fact, when I don’t get my juice in the morning, I miss it a lot more than I miss my time with Jesus. What’s even sadder is that I think of having my juice in the morning as more of a priority than spending time with God in the mornings. I’ve always struggled with morning devotions because I’m more of a nocturnal person by nature and find it hard to get up in the mornings; however, this doesn’t mean I’m not capable of getting up in the mornings a little bit earlier so I can begin my day with the Lord. The hard truth is that if I have homework I need to do or a paper to write, I have very little problems getting up earlier if that’s what it takes for me to get the work done and do a good job. There’s something troubling about the fact that I can wake up early to do school work, but I find it next to impossible to wake up early to read my Bible and pray. As much as I would prefer not to admit it, I make time and expend energy to do the things that are important to me. School is important to me, so I make the effort. More often than not, my time with God comes at night as I’m getting ready for bed. Honestly, God is getting my leftovers, whatever bits of me I haven’t already used up doing whatever else occupied my time that day.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to have your time with God at night, but I do think that the way I view my time with God is wrong. Jesus sets the example for us in the Gospels, and I don’t recall reading, “and Jesus went all day long without talking to God and then when it was time to go to sleep, He spent a few minutes in prayer and hit the hay”; on the contrary, it says in Mark 1:35 that “very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” If Jesus considered prayer worth getting up early for, shouldn’t I? I’m not trying to be legalistic or overly stringent; I just know that the days when I do have my time with God in the mornings, I am more likely to have the Lord on my mind throughout the day, and I can mull over what I read and prayed about that morning. Those days are always better than the ones where I wake up just in time to shower and head out the door and then return home worn out and only make time for a cursory Scripture reading and a murmured prayer before bed. For someone who values relationships with my friends so highly and places great import on regular communication with the people I love, I treat God horribly in comparison, and I don’t like that.
How incredible that the King of Kings and the Creator of the universe desires to spend time with me, delights in spending time with me! And how sad it is that in my selfishness and pride I reject Him, and by not fellowshiping with my Savior, I’m in essence telling God I don’t need Him, that I’m fully capable of managing my life by myself. (And we all know that’s not true!) I want to hunger and thirst for God; I want to taste and see that the Lord is good! And you know what? I think He’s a lot better than orange juice. I welcome your thoughts/criticisms/questions.
Psalm 34:8: Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.
Psalm 149:4: For the Lord takes delight in His people; he crowns the humble with salvation. Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds.
EDIT: I’m curious: are there any readers out there who don’t struggle with having time with God in the mornings? Or if you do struggle, have you found ways to overcome the desire to just sleep in? I’d love some advice on this, if anyone has some.