“I will awake the dawn!” (Psalm 108:2).
I’ve lived in cities most of my adult life. I spent almost all my 20s in urban environments. The three years I wasn’t in a city during that decade, I was pursuing a degree of some kind. I suppose you could say the only thing I like better than living in the city is studying. I am nerdy.
The interesting thing about spending your 20s in the city is that there are a whole lot of other people who are also in their 20s. Our urban centers have sort of become magnificent dormitories for the young professional class. Significantly more diverse dormitories, mind you, but dormitories nonetheless. And, as anyone who’s ever lived in a college dorm can tell you, no one ever wakes up early.
Until recently, you could include me in the “never wakes up early” class. But I realized recently that there are some things in life worth waking up early for. My zip code notwithstanding, more days than not I can say with the psalmist, “I will awake the dawn.”
I used to worry that if I woke up before the sun, I’d be a zombie by lunchtime. But the thing is, I’ve been motivated to wake up early. Though I keep it a little quieter than the psalmist (no harps or lyres at a quarter to six), my motivation has been the same as the psalmist’s: I’ve wanted to get up to praise and worship and pray to and commune with the Lord.
From the extent of God’s love and faithfulness (v.4), to the promises and triumphant power of the Lord (v.7-9), to simple pleas for help in the midst of weakness (v.12), the psalmist is up and at ’em and meditating on the goodness and love of his Maker.
Eugene Peterson reflects on this psalm in his memoir, “The Pastor.” I find the questions he asked himself while meditating on it helpful: “I had my eyes open; I was going through the motions of my work. But was I God-awake? Was my soul awake?”
No matter the time of day, we should ask ourselves, “is my soul awake?” So many people walk through this life dull and sleepy to the invigorating truth of who God is and what he’s done in Christ. The gospel should be more than enough to wake us up to the grace and love and forgiveness and help and communion and glorious union with Jesus we have by faith. Whether you wake up early or not.