Refuse to Fall Down
Have you ever longed to be one of those who wakes up early to pray?
Well hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada, and I have a few friends who do, indeed, get up at 5am to have a quiet time and pray. I, I’ve always been a little envious, but I’ll admit, I am not exactly a morning person. It takes quite awhile for me to get to sleep, and so those early morning hours are pretty precious. Well, it is not that way anymore. Maybe I'm still feeling the effects of my recent cancer treatment, or whatever, pain usually wakes me up, it does, around 4:30 in the morning, and I simply cannot find a comfortable position in which to sleep until help comes to get me up at 7:30 in the morning. Now, I used to panic. Like, “I’ve gotta get to sleep. I’ve got to get back to sleep. I don’t want have to wake up Ken again to have him turn me.” And I would pray that God would help me come up with a position where I could sleep without being distracted by pain. I stare at the clock projected on my ceiling, and I groan, and I think to myself, “You mean it’s only 3:30am?!” Yesterday, however, I found this poem and its truth really hit the spot. And I think it will touch you, too. The, the author is unknown, but this is how it goes. It says:
Refuse to fall down; and if you cannot refuse to fall down, refuse to stay down.
And if you cannot refuse to stay down, lift your heart toward heaven, and like a hungry beggar, ask that it be filled. You may be pushed down. You may be kept from rising. But no one can keep you from lifting your heart toward heaven. Only you. It is in the middle of misery that so much becomes clear. The one who says nothing good came of this, is not yet listening.
I love that part about lifting your heart toward heaven. It made the difference for me. Once God helped me release the anxiety, I could not be kept from rising. And at 4am, when I did, wide awake, I heard God whispering to me, “Joni, why don’t you use this time as your early morning prayer time?” And all of a sudden, a light went on. Of course! I’m not gonna lay here anxious. I’m to pray. I was able to embrace my circumstances, and not fight them, not feel defeated or pushed down by them. And so now, when that early hour appears on my ceiling, I see it as an invitation to draw near to God. At a time when, normally, I would never be awake, draw near to Him and praise Him. Actually, more than listing petitions, that 4:30 hour, it really is my time of worship.
Amazing things can happen when we stop resisting the irritating, inconvenient circumstance; you know, the problems we can’t solve. And just lift our hearts to the Lord, He then turns those difficult moments into seasons of worship. You know I'm reminded of that every time I watch this wonderful little video of my stroke-surviving friend, Katherine Wolf. Given that May is National Stroke Awareness month, I posted Katherine’s brief but powerful testimony on my radio page today at joniradio.org. I mean you watch this video, and I tell you you’ll never have a reason to complain again. Katherine was a beautiful, successful model in Los Angeles; a bright young Christian woman married to a Pepperdine law student. And after their first child, she suffered a massive stroke which left its mark in many ways. But Katherine refused to stay down. And her incredible story has been inspiring people like me to do the same ever since. So today, visit joniradio.org, and watch Katherine’s video. Then, be certain to share it with your Facebook friends, or anyone you know who has survived a stroke.
See you later at joniradio.org. I’m Joni Eareckson Tada.
© Joni and Friends