Ten months ago, I wrote about an experience of God carrying me through a rigorous season.
I’m lately having yet another experience of His just-in-time blessing and preservation.
I’m not a night person. At all. I never have been. I never pulled all-nighters in college in order to finish term papers. I could hardly even stay up all night when I was younger and was hanging out with my friends–I distinctly remember falling asleep half way through Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back when attempting to do an all-night viewing of the original trilogy.
If I can’t stay awake for Star Wars, I’m pretty sure that there’s nothing that can convert me into a night owl.
Except for maybe the grace of God.
And then, only when I need it.
This semester, I’m taking another graduate course in mathematics. It’s a distance education program, and because I live overseas, class begins at 10pm my time…and finishes at 11:15pm.
I usually go to bed between 9:30pm and 10pm.
My wife can invariably tell when I’m tired because my eyes get bloodshot, especially my right eye. It gets irritated to the point that it’s sometimes uncomfortable to keep it open if I’m too tired. It gets ugly red, and I’m done for.
I’m a couple of weeks into the semester now, and have to stay up way past my bedtime two nights a week in order to log-in to class.
And so far: no bloodshot eyes.
Some nights, my eyes would go bloodshot at 9:31pm…my body warning me that I better start getting ready for bed soon.
But over the last couple of weeks, no problems.
Sometimes my eyes are a little weary (I’m blogging right now in order to keep myself awake during the next two hours until my class starts), but even then, they’re not bloodshot.
Sometimes when I would go to bed with bloodshot eyes, I would wake up and they would still be red. Even 8.5 hours of sleep (my preference) wouldn’t be sufficient for ocular recovery.
But in this season, when I have no choice but to stay awake past my preferred bedtime, I find my eyes functioning well, with minimal discomfort.
All I can say is: grace for the moment.
A week before the semester, staying up late brought bloodshot eyes, but now I have just what I need, just when I need it.
It was reported to me once that John Bunyan, author of classic spiritual novel The Pilgrim’s Progress, had a season of life when he was sequestered away in a tower (for his own safety, I think, but perhaps as imprisonment). The tower was exactly what you would imagine in the 17th century: cold stone walls and floor, a simple bed frame and a meager writing desk. When John walked into his new room, he exclaimed, “All this and eternity too!”
John Bunyan had an amazing perspective on life: knowing that his eternity was secure through his faith in Jesus Christ, every other blessing in life was just icing on this divine dessert. That God would not only grant him salvation, but also provide other blessings, benefits, and gifts was just amazing–and encouraging–to John.
I confess that I rarely have such a perspective. But I do try to make an effort to at least acknowledge when I do perceive a blessing. Bloodshot-free eyes when I need them. And today, I got my car back after 2.5 weeks in the shop. The transmission now runs better than ever. And there was no charge. The dealer worked with the warranty company, and then waived the excess charges.
Both of these…and eternity too.
God’s eternal grace is experienced in the here and now. He watches us. He cares for us. He gives us what we need for the seasons that we find ourselves in.
More grace. Grace upon grace. Grace for eternity. Grace for the moment.