by David Sisler

Is any phone call after midnight ever good news?

It was Saturday night, seven weeks ago. At 10:30 I went though the house springing forward, so by the time I was back upstairs, it was an hour later. I had spent most of the evening at the computer, researching a new topic and beginning a new writing project. My glass of diet Mountain Dew was empty, so I had gone downstairs to get a refill and to set the clocks ahead.

Back at the computer, I did a first rewrite. Now it was midnight, so I closed the document and headed to bed. Hands washed, contact lenses in their case, teeth brushed and flossed, I crawled into bed, rolled to Bonnie's side where she had grown too sleepy to wait any longer, and I snuggled against my sleeping wife. It was 12:30 Sunday morning, by my clocks and my mind, at least.

I should have known better than to get comfortable, because my mind was still working on the new project. Another idea popped into my head and I rolled back out of bed, picked up a pad of paper and a pencil I keep handy for just such occasions, made a few notes, got back into bed and dropped off to sleep.

Thirty minutes later the jangle of the telephone startled me awake. I snatched the receiver up before the second ring could wake Bonnie.

"Daddy," my son, Matthew, said, "I've been in a wreck." And before I could say anything, he rushed ahead. "I'm all right. It wasn't my fault. The car isn't damaged too badly. Don't tell Mom."

I laughed at his priorities, relief making it funnier than it was. But my son knows the way my mind works and the most important thing on my mind was my son.

He was coming home from a church outing, when a young woman tried, unsuccessfully, to brake behind three stopped cars (the lead vehicle was making a left- hand turn). Realizing the parade in front of her had halted, she pulled out around the end car. She missed it, clipped Matt, and the car in front of him. She was underage and under the influence of alcohol.

After Matt assured me again he was okay, I drifted off to sleep again. When he got home an hour later, he woke me to recount the adventure. We rejoiced together that no one was hurt, and lamented that some idiot provided alcohol to a young woman whose judgement was impaired before she ever started drinking. Hopefully that jerk will do jail time.

I went back to bed and laid staring into the darkness. My other son, Michael, was still out. In the darkness I prayed for him and for others who were out on the road. At 2:45 Michael drove up. I gave a quick prayer of thanks as he shut the engine off and climbed out of his car. I was asleep before he opened the front door.

The next morning I asked Mike if had walked up stairs to tell me he was home. He said, "Yes. You were sleeping next to Mom and when I touched your arm you rolled over and said something to me."

I was wide awake until he got home, but once I knew he was safe, sleep came quickly and deeply. It is easy to sleep when you know your loved ones are safe. It is easy to sleep when faith becomes the knowledge that God is in charge and in total control. When your boys are home safe, it is easy to have faith.

There was another sleepless night. This was not in a comfortable bed, but in a small boat, threatened with destruction from a raging sea. Earlier in the day, Jesus had taught his disciples to sow in faith. Some seed, he said, will produce a 100 percent harvest. Their hearts that day had been hard ground and the waves that threatened to wash them overboard washed away their faith as well. No wonder it was with total panic they woke him with the chastisement, "Carest thou not that we perish? How canst thou lie asleep?"

My faith was no match for the darkness while my son was out, his brother having just returned home from near catastrophe. The disciples' faith was no match for the Sea of Galilee. Jesus could sleep while it was storming. I could not go to sleep until the "storm" stopped. Jesus' faith was in the complete confidence of his Father. That is the only safe place for faith yours and mine.


Published in the Augusta Chronicle 5/22/99

Copyright 1999 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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