Waiting for Morning

Sunrise over the Valles Caldera, New Mexico

“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in His word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the LORD more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.” (Psalm 130:5-6)

I won’t hesitate to admit it: I dislike mornings. Well, in all fairness, I only dislike the hours of 2 am to 10 am. 10 to 11 o’clock is all right most times. 11 o’clock to Noon? Not bad. Assuming lunch comes at noon. If lunch comes after 1? Then 11 and I have problems, too.

I’ve never been a morning person. Not even when I had to get up at 5am to work the morning shift on radio did I become a fan of mornings. Oh, sure, I had to be chipper and cheery of voice and demeanor but little did my audience know they were really listening to a young man with serious thespian skills. I’ve had jobs of many types that start at different hours of the day. But through them all, I’ve held disdain for the AM.

I’d be a terrible nightwatchman. Back in the day, nightwatchmen would be the ones to whom everyone in a town entrusted their lives. While the village slept, the nightwatchmen would be on guard high up in the watchtowers and sitting on benches at the town gates. As the night would descend, the watchmen would stand increasingly vigilant, surveying the countryside for any signs of movement. Be they friend or foe, the nightwatchmen would treat each incoming soul with caution. But humans weren’t the watchman’s greatest foe. No, one person can only do so much harm. The watchman’s mortal enemy was night. Darkness. The cloak of secrecy.

But morning would certainly come. I’ve been awake many mornings watching the sun rise, photographing it on still or video. What always amazes me (and catches me off guard) is how the sun is always preceded by the dawn. If the sun rises at, say, 6:40am, then it’s a safe bet that the dawn will arrive at 5:40am. Stars will slowly fade as the daylight washes ashore. Gradually, your surroundings become clearer. There are mountains, or trees, or clouds. Can’t see the clouds on a moonless night. Many times I’ve arrived someplace new at night and had to wait until morning to see exactly where I am.

As a tent camper, I’ve learned first-hand how important the dawn is to peace of mind. The first few nights I spent in the Wichita Mountains were some of the most intimidating nights I’ve ever lived through. Creatures of all ilk roam the night. A tent is merely one layer of thin fabric. Some creatures have claws. And teeth. And are ill tempered. I taste good (or so I’ve imagined). As I lay down in my tent I am fully aware of how vulnerable I am. I’ll never forget that first night in the mountains. All night I heard the rustling of leaves outside my tent. I heard grunting and snorting and chuckling (ok, I made that last one up). I felt the wind blow against my tent. At least, I think it was the wind. It was a miserable night. I couldn’t wait for the morning to come. I prayed for morning. All… night… long.

I have since learned to trust myself to the hand of the Great Nightwatchman and a high-powered, non-lethal sidearm. When the two work in tandem, all is cool.

Even though I don’t like losing sleep by waking up in the mornings, I know that the morning not only has great beauty but also great peace. It’s easier to be peaceful when we can see, right? The dawn ushers the darkness away and allows us to take sure-footed steps. I like sure-footed steps. Tripping over a dang guy wire repeatedly even though you know it’s there ain’t fun. But it just happens to match the color of the ground at night. Which is dark.

Here’s to the sun!

— John

BTW… I made an observation tonight about darkness and light that will need some more chewing on. In the Old Testament, there always seems to be a period of darkness before there comes a light. In other words, the darkness precedes the light. According to the Hebrew calendar, a day starts at sunset and not at midnight or sunrise. So the Hebrew day begins with night. Interesting, eh? In Isaiah 9:2 it says that those living in darkness will see a great light. In John 1, Jesus is that light. He broke the darkness. And the promise of life in Christ is that even during dark times, dawn will always come. For Jesus has overcome this dark world.