Sometimes I wake up and can’t sleep.

Sometimes I wake up early and can’t sleep. I’m not so holy that I’m compelled to wake up early and pray. I just tend to have insomnia. So, this morning when I work up at 5 a.m., after having slept only about five hours, my mind began to ponder. I thought about the wet and the cold and that silly mimosa tree that had grown up into my neglected flower bed. I thought about one thing and then another. Finally, and I don’t know why, I began to think about Christ as he entered into the Heavenly Tabernacle and presented His own sinless blood on the Mercy Seat before God the Father.

So, let me say to my skeptical friends, yes, I believe this. What human priests did for centuries were merely, as scripture says, a shadow of what Christ finally did “once for all.” This said then, if Christ were “slain from the foundation of the world,” then the Mercy Seat in the Heavenly Tabernacle must have been prepared waiting for eons of eternity past. This raises a question in my sleepy mind: How many times “before iniquity was found” in him did Lucifer walk past it, not sure what it was or its purpose, since until man sinned there was probably not even a hint of its value.

I can imagine him in that time before time walking by, maybe wondering about it periodically, other times not even noticing it. But it was there. And in the Father’s mind, the true significance of it was clear and remained. Had Lucifer asked about it, maybe he could have been warned about his own future fall and possibly kept his pride in check. Probably not. Or, did he look at it and think what a useless piece of furniture God had put in such a prominent place and then question God’s wisdom, after all. More likely. And how often do we do the same thing?

Are there things that God has placed in our lives, maybe even before we were born, that make no sense to us and cause us to wonder at God’s wisdom, though we might not want to admit this to ourselves? Has God put things in MY life that I walk around daily and ignore or treat with contempt? The Heavenly Mercy Seat is one of a kind, placed in Heaven and prepared to receive Christ’s sacrifice “from the foundation of the earth.” Likewise, Lord, show me the unique things in my life that you have ordained but that I ignore or question. Help me not to rearrange the furniture or put in a yard sale those things that you have placed with a purpose. Please don’t let me walk around something for my whole life, thinking You’ve given something a prominent place needlessly. Forgive me my arrogance and help me to “humble [myself] under the mighty hand of God” and just leave the furniture where you’ve placed it and learn its value and purpose.

And now that I think about it, maybe my life-long insomnia could be there for a reason. Maybe I don’t fall asleep right off or wake up not because I’m so holy but because I’m not. Maybe I need to take advantage of the early hours of quiet, leave the TV off, and spend time with my Heavenly Father since His Son’s sacrifice has made it possible for me to cry out “Abba Father.” So that’s what that thing is for. I gotta go. I need to talk to my Father. Maybe there’s something else I’ve been ignoring that I need. In fact, I’m sure there is.

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Stephen W. B. Rizzo

I am a Christian who is flawed but forgiven. I am a father who is blessed beyond measure with two amazing children. I am an educator who is fortunate to get paid for doing what he loves. I am a writer, a budding photographer, and a musician who really needs to practice more.

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