“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” – Romans 8:35 (NRSV)
There is this moment in the middle of the night. I gasp; I audibly take in so much air that anyone nearby will hear it.
I know God most closely in my sleep. For me, the overnight hours are the longest stretches of prayer I know. God and I talk in my dreams. Not exclusively—other voices work their way in as well. But God’s most transformative healing work happens on my way to or in my sleep. Which is why an interruption can feel so … disruptive to my soul.
What disrupts my God relationship? The Apostle Paul has ideas:
All of these work their way into the gasp points of my God-time. As well they should. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me to proclaim liberty to the captive, and this Jesus-following posture places those of us who do advocacy work at personal risk for any disruption on Paul’s list. And then some.
Here’s the truth: nothing can separate us from God. But things can interrupt our experience of God. When we are breathing in goodness—even in a snore—any disruption can make us gasp for air.
Maybe that gasp is good. Maybe it is helpful to know that, in these moments of interruption, we are in peril if we cannot breathe God in first and foremost.
Your call to follow Jesus may put you at risk. It may make you naked, vulnerable. It may make you the target of trolls with nothing better to do than to try to interrupt your relationship with the Lord.
Amidst all of the peril: get your rest. Love your God. Follow Jesus. Know ye that the Lord is good and the Lord is God. And She will always show up, always on time. Even in the still of the night.
I give thanks for your ability to break through it all, O God. Even in my slumber. Even my unrest. In Jesus’ name.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.