It happened at church, and it was one of the most embarrassing moments in my life.
I grew up in a church that taught me a lot about how to be a good person, but never about how I could never be good enough to earn my way to heaven. During the normal service a few verses of the Bible were read aloud, but that’s as far as it went. No teaching on the verses, no explanation of what they meant. It was, in a word, dry and boring.
My dad must have thought so, too. He had this habit of falling asleep. Sometimes he would lean his head against the wall. That was a good day. Other times, his head would do the well-known head bob. That was bad enough. But one week, he must have been very tired. Or very bored. Because he actually started snoring!
Now you have to understand, my dad was not a soft, ruffling kind of snorer. He sounded more like an angry bear in the woods. Nothing discreet about it. It seemed as if everyone in the church swiveled his head to see who was making that horrible noise. I sank down into the pew as low as I could, but there was no escaping the grins thrown my way. Mom elbowed Dad sharply in the ribs and the snoring stopped, but the damage had been done. When you are a pre-teen, life doesn’t get much worse.
While I was pretty focused on my own mortification, the root problem was that my dad had completely tuned out the sermon. Maybe he was drowsy, but for whatever reason he quit listening to the pastor. He missed the message altogether, and just fell asleep.
Sadly, the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree. I am my Dad’s daughter. Only what I tune out is what God is trying to say to me. Physical fatigue. Emotional lethargy. Mental exhaustion. They may all contribute, but I find myself in a spiritual malaise, and I quit listening.
Oh, how much I miss when I do!
I miss God’s voice telling me, “This is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21) So I don’t follow the right path.
I don’t turn to Him when He calls, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) So I continue, drained and unrefreshed.
I carry the heaviness of my sin, instead of taking it to the only one who can forgive me (1 John 1:9). So I cannot escape its weight. All because I don’t listen to the One who longs for me to turn to Him and hear His still, small voice reassuring me of His unconditional, unwavering, unlimited love.
So I can choose to sleepwalk through life, not listening to the One who loves me best, or I can choose to wake up and live the abundant life He has promised (John 10:10).
No more snoring in church for me!
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:9-10
1. Have you ever tuned out God?
2. What was the result?
3. What could keep your heart and mind focused on Him?
Father, I am so sorry for all the times I tune You out. You are the One who loves me best, and I long to walk fully in the abundant life You have promised. Please open my mind and my heart to hear all You have to say to me.