by Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
Over the past five years Jesus and I have endured in transforming my mind to appreciate an obscenely early wake-up time. I am not generally high-maintenance, but require undisturbed peace in my morning to achieve balance in my day, and a measure of success in my Christian walk. I start with a little “grumpy time”, because grace does not yet abound in me until a sufficient amount of coffee has been consumed. Once caffeinated, I am able to give my best to the most crucial part of the morning, my daily study and quiet time with God. Lately, this precious time has been under a relentless series of attacks!
The blame for this daily and hostile assault belongs solely to my daughter’s adorable kitten, Kian. I am quick to remind him that God will not bless his naughtiness, yet he persists in being a stumbling block. He incessantly plops himself on top of my bible, continually swats the pen out of my hand while I’m writing, and literally pounces on me while in prayer. I have resorted to sneaking around like a thief in the night, trying to avoid waking the pint-sized “disturber of the peace”. He’s just lucky he’s cute!
Now that my morning quiet time has been invaded, I realize how much I rely on it, and am desperately selfish for it! The thought crossed my mind to concede and move my quiet time to the evening, yet I gained a fresh resolve after reading a quote by C.H. Spurgeon that "If we are weak in communion with God we are weak everywhere." It would be disastrous to attempt my day without first seeking God. I am useless to Him without spending time in His presence, allowing Him to direct and delight me.
The Bible recounts the tradition of God’s people rising early in the morning to seek Him. Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Daniel, and countless others all “arose early in the morning”. David wrote “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (Psalm 5:3). Before the cares of this life set in and the noisy rush of the day hit like a ton of bricks, we need to meet with God. He alone knows what we will face throughout our day and eagerly waits to love on us and equip us for the good works He has planned.
The practice of intentional and focused time early in the morning for communion with God was Jesus’ first priority. If we are true disciples, we will follow His divine example, and teach our children to follow as well. Our quiet time with God is essential for healthy spiritual growth, maturity, and well-being. We may have to sacrifice or fight for it, but He is faithful to deliver us a victory when we determine to make meaningful fellowship with Him our first priority. Be encouraged: if Jesus can transform my outlook on early morning to one of expectant joy, there is hope for anyone! As for my little “force of disruption”, he is also being transformed - by a spray bottle of “Discipleship water”.
May God bless our devotion to “Seek first his kingdom…” (Matt. 6:33)
– Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal