(This short rendition of recent events is not to belittle anyone--for there are no hard feelings--but to illustrate the amazing love of God.)
Sleep--that evanescent dream, eluding those nervous souls deeply distreased.
I was such a soul. Missing sleep, never to rest. Or so I believed it so.
Needing rest for my oral floor exam, I anticipated a full night of deep REM. Complete shuteye. Some hibernation. A good visit with the sandman.
But God had others plans.
The first night after a long drive from Denver to Carson, ND, was tiring (nevermind that I did not drive). A graciously hospitable and lovely woman opened her house to many Presbytery delegates and their spouses--including my wife and myself.
After a tasty dinner and relaxing conversations we settled into the guest basement. Tired and nervous about the prospects of the upcoming exam, sleep did not come readily. Adding to this state of mind, the lack of sleeping experience outside my own domicile agitated the problem. As well as some good-old fashion snoring.
I woke up about four times that night.
Even so, the examination did not transpire the next day.
The suspense mounted, expanded and bore a hole through my head.
The upcoming Tuesday night brought a new meaning to insomnia...
Again, after tasty meals, talks with friends and joyful worship with fellow Christians we turned in for the night--after a long drive Monday, little sleep that night and a long Tuesday meeting, surely I would be exhausted, spent, dead tired, kaput. I needed my sleep for the inevitable foor exam that next morning. Without such rest I would surely buckle under. But it was not meant to be.
In my experience--stretching from friendly slumber parties and boy-scout retreats to basic training in the Air Force and dormatory living amongst various and sundry men--I have encountered a plethera of sleeping hazards, not the least of which included that most manly of nocturnal activities: snooring.
Now, naturally many of us have encountered this event and even heard stories of bad snorers. So have I. But even my experience on the flightline with F-16s firing their thrusters for takeoff could not prepare me for this.
While sleeping, some men gnaw at wood, others use saws, still others employ a chain-saw. Someone in that basement loaded dynamite around the log, stuffed more inside it, tied a series of M80s in chain-like fashion from the log into my room....and lite the fuse. One explosion after another rocked my nocturnal abode--both physical and mental.
Discovering the perpetrator--who resided on the other side of the basement--that old stalwart against snoring--the nose strip--was immediately employed.
It blew away like a feather atop an exploding geyser.
I used benadryl in anticipation--it's groggy embrace was cut through with a hot-knife.
I used ear-plungs--they were papier-mache protecting against the onslaught winds of a hurricane!
God was surely testing my patience. My wife could not stop laughing.
Sleep eluded me as surely as moral perfection slips from the hands of a sinner.
I needed prayer. So I prayed. And prayed some more.
That Wednesday morning it was time for the oral exam. Clamping my jaws shut against the increasing pressures of two-nights worth of yawns yearning to explode, I answered questions. And more questions. Correct answers drawn from the well of spiritual training and experience surfaced in my mind. The Spirit of God sustained me.
My prayers were answered.
I lost physical sleep those days in Carson.
Yet I was spiritually awake.