On April 13, baggage handler Willa Junior dozed off in the cargo hold of a Boeing 737 while working his job at a Seattle airport. Junior was awakened abruptly when a piece of baggage hit him in the head, and he was faced with darkness, engine noise, and the feeling that the plane was ascending.
He tried to call his company, but they thought it was a prank call.
He tried to call 911, but his call was cut off.
He then began banging on the ceiling of the cargo hold, which was heard by the plane’s passengers directly above him.
The plane was forced to return to the Seattle airport to release its sleep-deprived captive from the cargo hold — alive, and probably quite embarrassed.
On March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling approximately 11 million gallons of crude oil into the sea. At the time, this was the worst oil spill in United States history (eclipsed in 2010 by the Deepwater Horizon spill). Allegedly, the Valdez spill was caused by the ship’s third-mate falling asleep at the helm, causing the tanker to leave the shipping lanes, and run aground on Bligh Reef.
In the Bible, we find the story of Jonah. In his attempt to run from God, he boarded a ship. While asleep in the hold, God sent a mighty storm to stop the fleeing prophet. Being awakened, and realizing the storm was on his account, Jonah instructed the crew to throw him into the sea (see the book of Jonah).
We find the disciples asleep in Jesus’ hour of need, at the very time He needed them to watch and pray (see Matthew 26:36-46).
Sleep deprivation can have horrific results. These stories are just a miniscule sampling of the thousands of instances of someone falling “asleep at the wheel”, and being met with tragedy. Countless car accidents, plane crashes, and other disasters have been caused because someone dozed off at their post, with tragic results.
In our nation and our world, the Church is suffering from spiritual sleep deprivation…
We have forsaken the diligent study of God’s Word for entertainment and lullaby religion.
We have allowed our prayer-times to devolve into blessings at dinner time, and fox-hole, final exam, and health-crisis pleadings.
We have fallen asleep in the Watchtower of Righteous-Indignation, and allowed the voices of immorality, narcissism, self-indulgence, and anti-Christianity to storm the walls and drown out the sound of the Good News of Jesus.
We who are alive in Christ must engage this culture if we are going to change it. The liberal agenda in our nation is making no bones about changing the fabric this country was built on, making room for no dissenting opinions, and taking no prisoners. As those who have come out of darkness and into the light of God’s love, it is up to us to make our voices heard, in the churchhouse, the schoolhouse, and the statehouse. We must put feet to faith, reach the ears of our detractors with truth, and reach their hearts with love-based action. As the late Keith Green pointed out, “God bless you, be at peace…’ just doesn’t cut it with a world that is starving for truth, looking for love, and dying from self-inflicted misery.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. ~ Ephesians 5:8-16
So how do we do this? How do we stand against the waves opposition and persecution we are seeing today?
- Come together. There is an old adage that there is strength in numbers. It’s time for the church to pull together, cross denominational and cultural barriers within the Body, and stand on the truth of God’s Word. It’s time we stop “forsaking the assembling of ourselves”, and stand side-by-side against the tide of public perception and political correctness.
- Speak the truth in love. Anyone can be a shrill voice of dissention. It takes well-grounded, Spirit-filled minds and hearts to thoughtfully, intelligently, and truthfully vocalize Biblical opposition to the deception overtaking our nation and give an answer for the hope we have.
- Live it. Talk is cheap, and costs nothing. It is in living out our convictions, particularly when it is uncomfortable or costs us something, that our critics take notice, our adversaries are silenced, and we make a difference in the world. It’s not enough to simply talk about Jesus’ love if we are not going to put feet to faith, and make our presence known in a very real, very tangible way in our neighborhoods, communities, counties, and world.
So get involved! Find a way to make a difference. Open your eyes to those around you, and touch the life of someone who has no way to repay you. Let that be a start… the seed to greater things for the Kingdom of God.
Every great oak began as an acorn.
Every great idea began in the mind of someone brave enough to dream, and bold enough to think they could succeed…
And with the God of the universe in your corner, you can too!