Be vigilant, listen obediently to these words that I command you so that you’ll have a good life, you and your children, for a long, long time, doing what is good and right in the eyes of God, your God. Deuteronomy 12:28 (MSG)
Vigilance [vij-uh-luhns] noun
1. State or quality of being vigilant; watchfulness.
I’m up early this morning and have not slept well. The inability to sleep is not new to me, but this morning my insomnia has a reason. Wendy and I are driving to the lake this morning and I can’t wait to get out of Dodge and be at the sanctuary of the lake. This is not new, either. As a child, my family vacationed each year on Rainy Lake on the boundary waters between Minnesota and Canada. The night before we were to leave was always a night of vigilance for me and my family. Many years my dad would finally give up hope of sleeping and we would pile into the family station wagon at 2:00 a.m. and head north.
God’s command to be vigilant lept off the page at me this morning and I was surprised to look up the definition to find that it is literally insomnia. The connotation is to be watchful like the night watchmen of old who were at their post in the watches of the night staying alert and keeping an eye out for danger.
Then, in a moment of synchronicity, the following passage was a part of the morning prayers in this morning’s Divine Hours:
Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Matthew 24:42-43 (KJV)
In a land of abundant peace and safety, vigilance is not something we regularly contemplate, let alone practice. Yet today I’m reminded that God calls me to be vigilant in two respects. First, I’m to be aware that danger comes in many forms. Tragedy and evil, both senseless and malicious, are present and active in this world. God tells me not to be anxious and fearful, but to indeed be vigilant. Second, Jesus promised that He would return and I am called to be vigilant and mindful of the imminent event.