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empty Posted January 2002
Rev. John H. Fisher
Rev. John H. Fisher
God's Alarm Clock
An inspirational meditation for the New Year!

by Rev. John H. Fisher
Pastor, Ben Salem A.M.E. Church
Bensalem, Pennsylvania

People call on God for a lot of things.

Often times, I call on Him to wake me up.

I mean literally.  I fall asleep without the alarm clock set, and then, although it is unintentional and I do not realize the spot I have put God in,  I have to depend on God to get me up at the right time.

God has a number of ways to go about the awakening process.

Sometimes it is like a bolt from the blue.

I will be in the middle of a sound sleep, and then just wake right up, for no apparent reason.  I will be awake and eyes wide.  This is jarring, like hitting the brakes when you are going 80 miles an hour and coming to a dead, teeth-gritting stop.

Then I will look at the clock, innocently sitting by my bedside unset, and realize if I had not be shaken wide awake, I would have been late.

For me anyway, God is not necessarily an equal opportunity awakener.

If there is something I am supposed to be doing for him, a service, church activity a charitable endeavor, God sets that heavenly alarm clock right on time.  If it is a me thing.  A vacation, a social event, a visit with a friend, God let's me know that I am on my own.  Like allowing me to wake up a half hour after I was supposed to been someplace.

I fully comprehend now, there are times I drastically need to set my alarm clock.   Then there are other times, if I do not set it....well you get the picture.

God's one alarm is the wide awakening.  The bell also tolls through bathroom calls.   Those sleep-ending ventures down the hallway, stumbling and clawing for the door at the other end.  Then a return to the bed only to look at the clock and discover you were supposed to be out of your warm nest of sheets,  covers and blankets anyway.

Then God has another way of getting me up, especially on days that I am extremely tired, and hard to awaken as I was yesterday.

I had spent Saturday, with Jan my wife, cutting and grooming the nearly two acre property on which my church sits. The part of the day we did not spend  doing yard work, we spent shopping.  We were hosting our Presiding Elder Rev. Carl D. Ogden Sr. and three other nearby churches for an afternoon service and I had volunteered to do the cooking for the pre-service meal.

The shopping was concluded around 1 a.m. Sunday morning.  I could not begin cooking then.  I was too tired.  The grounds work had drained all I had in me out of me.  

Jan and I both lay down.  Intending only to rest our bodies for a few minutes before starting the dinner preparation for the next day.

We both went out like lights.  No alarm clocks were set.  The only thing between us and disaster and a KFC church supper  was ...God's alarm clock.

This sleep was so sound, I do not even have a clue if I was dreaming about anything.   I was in a deep, dark comforting type of sleep.

I was enjoying every second of its body refreshing comfort when suddenly a cramp started twisting the bottom of my left leg.  Muscles were pulling and pushing and knotting.   Woke me up.  But this was not the first time God had used this particular alarm to shake me awake.

I only was partially awake.  I felt a little tired still   That probably made me grumpy. Maybe a little arrogant too.  I did not even remember I was not supposed to be asleep.  Did not comprehend I had been asleep for about three hours. My sleep-deprived state of mind did not  remember that I had a sermon yet to complete and a dinner for 50 yet to cook.  Instead all I knew was God was messing with me.

That's right, I sensed it was God messing with me.  Not to hurt me, but messing with me.  Messing like a good friend will on occasion.  No harm intended.  But in my sleepy daze, I was not comprehending that  God never disturbs my sleep unless it is a necessity.

So stupid me,  with most of my senses, and what little good sense I have,  still being in a dream state, I verbally challenged God.  Out loud even.  I woke Jan from her sleep.  I asked God in a loud voice, "Is this the best you can do, I can sleep right through this cramp."


The echo of my voice had not stopped shaking around the walls of my bedroom, and my rapidly descending head had yet to hit the pillow before the muscles in my previously quiet right leg started gathering, knotting, and contorting in such a way that I was forced to jump from the bed and start a Holy Dance of sorts in an effort to try to alleviate the pain of  my now two cramping legs.

And when the pain fully awakened me,  and I started making sense of the glowing numbers on my clock, I had to  apologize to God for my outburst and start praising Him,  thanking Him for one more time bailing my fat out of the fire, for getting me up on time.  If I had slept even a half hour more, I never would have had enough time to do what I needed to do to prepare the meal and the sermon.

God does special things when special needs arise.

But I do not wait for one of those special occasions to thank God for awakening me.

Every day when my eyes open on a new day, I thank God for the awakening.  The alarm clock might even have rung, but it was God's touch that woke me up.

It only was God's grace and mercy that opened my eyes.  By God's permission I started another run along the course He has set for me.

Yesterday turned out to be a big success. The fellowship was awesome, the grounds looked good, and everybody said the food was great!  I left the church, tired, drained but blessed in the Lord.  It only was by God's insistent pushing, prodding, and yes cramping, that everything came to fruition.

God had given me yet another chance to be of service to Him.  He did not allow me to sleep through my blessing. He, being an on-time God,  made sure that I  was an on-time minister to glorify Him.

I will try to do better with the alarm clock in the future.  But I can not make any promises.  When I get to that can't-go-on state of tiredness when I am running for the Lord, God just seems to allow me to gently fall off into  a refreshing sleep before I get to set the alarm clock.  But God never allows me to fail either and awakens me on  time.

Every day is another opportunity to thank God for awakening you on time.  For every day,  He has wound your clock of life, allowing you a new day in the Lord.

When God's alarm clock goes off in your life, feel blessed, and answer its call.

I might not like to be awakened but I give God all the praises for being able to be awake!

Any new day is God's blessing.  The old hymn rightly proclaims, "He woke me up this morning and started me on my way, the Lord is blessing me, right now."

Are you feeling blessed?

Rev. John H. Fisher is pastor of the historic Ben Salem African Methodist Episcopal Church in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. The church was established in 1818. Rev. Fisher is the host of the website, A.M.E. Today where this article first appeared. It is used by permission.
Copyright © 2002

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