It’s the middle of the night-and I’m up. This happens predictably when I don’t take a Tylenol PM. Somewhere in middle age I’ve lost the ability to sleep. It was a nice ability, now almost gone. Sitting here, in the dark, listening to the electricity hum, it’s easy to quickly get a skewed perspective and tell yourself things that are not true.
For example, it is fairly easy to imagine you are one of the only people awake on the planet. My Golden Retriever Bali, senses something is wrong and groggily walks out, staring at me like she’s thinking, “What are you doing master? We’re all sleeping. Come back to bed.” It’s either that or, “Hey, can we go out onto the porch? I want to stare at lizards”
Also, it is fairly easy to imagine there is a team of people being paid to make unnerving sporadic noises just outside your front door. Several of those noises just happened. It makes me think how ironic it will be to discover my last written words on earth were the typing of such a concern just before the axe murderer broke into my home and took me out.
And it is fairly easy to imagine that life is suddenly much worse than it was just hours before when your wife was next to you, awake, telling you she loved you. You can give yourself permission to think despairing thoughts about life that seem senseless once the sun again rises.
But then I notice, even right in the middle of my worst thoughts, if I jump onto Facebook, I discover an entire world of people who have not taken their Tylenol PM either. And even though noises outside my door continue, I’m not as afraid. I’m taken out of my private fears back into the world of reality.
These machinations of my imagination are not true. But the quality of my life goes down in a hurry when I allow myself to believe them.
…I do a similar thing with God. When, in the normal course of life here on earth, I get sad, or hurt or too busy or my own failure clouds my view, I can start thinking all manner of wrong thoughts. It is fairly easy to believe God stands on the sidelines of the “John Lynch is a jerk” team. It is fairly easy to believe that God has lost interest in my lot. It is fairly easy to believe that the unhealthy thoughts I’ve been thinking must keep me from God.
But they are all machinations of my imagination. Not the real me and not the real God. And in this moment, I really can stop the madness and remember that He says I am “Christ in John Lynch”. Not alone, not alienated, not disdained, but rather alive, and enjoyed and truly righteous. And I can talk to Him right now, at this moment, and let Him into whatever I’ve been thinking or imagining. He doesn’t hold out until I get it right. He invades my madness at a moment’s notice.
It’s like jumping on Facebook at 3 AM and breaking the spell in the middle of the night.
Later. My dog wants to go look at lizards.