The other day as I was quietly passing through our local discount store, I passed by a t-shirt that caught my eye. It was in the girls’ section, and I wasn’t in the market for any girls’ clothes, but I was passing by on my way to another section of the store and couldn’t help but see the colorful shirt near the end-cap.
It declared, “Awesome never rests.”
I wish, especially since I am hoping to live more graciously, that I could report that my first thought about this t-shirt was consistent with my eventual thought about this t-shirt. I wish, but, alas, it wasn’t.
I saw the t-shirt, registered the phrase, and kept pushing my cart past the area to my next destination. And, as I pushed the cart, I thought to myself, “okay, another declaration of awesome about a person. Another placing the child on a pedestal of awesome…and another glorification of busy-ness. Another symptom of our culture.” I’m not certain my head didn’t physically shake, but I am certain it was in my spirit.
And, then, as I pushed the cart a few feet further, I began to think about this message, and how it could speak to people who continually work to get things done, to serve others, and how they don’t sit idle for long. My heart began to warm toward the sentiment, as my mind was filled with images of people I know who are the epitome of this.
Then, as I pushed the cart a few feet further still, another thought struck me.
Awesome. Who is awesome? Only God.
“Awesome never rests” turned into thoughts of “Awesome never sleeps”
And THAT made me think of the incredible words of Psalm 121:3-4:
He will not let your foot slip–
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
This passage has meant so much to me over the years, but especially in the past few months, and in this very past week, as a friend living overseas and I have wrestled in prayer for one another. We are living in completely opposite time zones (13 hours), so our overlap of wakefulness is on the small side, but our ability to intercede for one another in the hours our friend is sleeping (and potentially struggling with finding true rest in letting go of whatever burden is at hand) is great. In this particular season, in some particularly isolating burdens, she and I have been able to share our hearts and burdens, and then encourage one another in the Word and in prayer.
In some very meaningful ways, this reality of life has been a sweetly tangible reflection of the words of this Psalm.
God’s Word confidently states God watches over [us]. He doesn’t sleep (and through His constant watch He will not allow our feet to slip). He is watching our coming and going, no matter the time zone, no matter the hour. He is a God who never sleeps, but is always working for us, for His purposes, for His glory.
He is “not asleep” when I am praying for my friend while she sleeps, and He is “not asleep” when she is praying for me while I sleep. He is actively listening, actively watching, and actively working. Always.
An ever-wakeful, ever-present, ever-active God is a picture of grace. We don’t deserve it, but He is eager to give it (and to remind us of the reality of it through His Word).
As my mind reeled with these thoughts, and my soul welled up with doxology, I knew I had to turn that cart around and go back to the shirt and get a picture so I would remember this “picture of grace.”
And, the more I reflect on this picture of grace, the more I find myself wishing I could squeeze myself into a kids’ sized shirt so I could clothe myself in this declaration as well!