Up at Night
All kinds of people have felt sort of doomed to discipleship.
“And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for… my eyes have seen the Lord of hosts!'” – Isaiah 6:5
My seminary once ran an ad campaign featuring this question—“Does God keep you up at night?” I thought it was awful. So did some other professors. We couldn’t imagine attracting anyone to our school with that hokey tag line.
That ad was so successful that I often try to take credit for it. Applicants said it rang completely true. They hadn’t been sleeping soundly for years They’d fend off God’s insistence during the day, but the Glory of the Presence woke them, trembling, in the wee hours.
What made me tremble were the huge sacrifices they made to say ‘yes.’ When I’d ask why, they said they finally just could not not do it. When they reviewed their lives, they realized that they were shot through with a certain inevitability.
It’s not only seminarians who sense that inevitability. All kinds of people have felt sort of doomed to discipleship. We like to think we choose our paths in life, and theoretically we do. But, as Mark Wilson observed, when you find yourself trembling in the presence of the true and living God, choosing seems irrelevant. Instead, when God asks, “Whom shall I send?”, you tell God to send you, even ‘though it never before entered your mind that you could be ready, willing, or able to do any such thing.
Once you get a glimpse God’s glory, it’s already too late for choosing. Your feet discover a will of their own, your hands drop the nets by the shore, and off you go, trembling, terrified, and glad.
Sometimes you wake me up trembling. Keep doing that, please—my whole life long.
Mary Luti is Interim Senior Pastor, Wellesley Village Church, Wellesley, Massachusetts.