Daily Proverbial, from Ecclesiastes, 23 July 2012

Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words. Ecclesiastes 5, verses 2 and 3.

Do you sometimes babble? I do. It’s late at night when I’m writing this and I can’t sleep; I have insomnia. I think the reason I’m up so late is because I had too much caffeine too late in the evening, but now I have too many things running through my mind and it seems like a stream of meaningless junk. My legs are sore from running yesterday. The temporary resident of my middle bedroom is out late again and who knows when or if she’s coming home. There is much to be done this week on my project, planning out the installation of software and writing hundreds of test cases for the ICD-10 project. I haven’t ever replaced a water pump on a car before but I will be doing that on my son’s car later this week and I’m a bit leery on just how to do it. Money is tight at the moment. I’m glad to have my son home safe & sound from his mission trip. There is too much cat hair on my pillow because the cat spends all day long hunkered under the covers on my bed. I’m finishing up a really good book. After watching ‘Dallas’ last week, I think it would really suck to be John Ross Ewing. See what I mean? Babbling.

And do you babble in prayer? Sometimes I do. I think I’ve said it here before that one of the more effective ways I’ve found to cure insomnia is to pray; yes, I tried it already. Forget the sleeping pills or late night TV (I don’t care much for the TV anyway): I’ve found that praying late at night when I can’t sleep helps me to get to the root of what’s keeping me awake so I can let it go. I sometimes wonder, though, if God doesn’t listen to my prayers and think I’m babbling. I oscillate between asking for help, asking for forgiveness and thanking Him for every little thing that comes to mind (or heart). The whole thing seems like it risks into a Faulkner-esque stream of consciousness. It’s true that this usually helps me get to the nub of what’s keeping me awake, but to tell you the truth, usually I am sure it just sounds like babbling.

It shouldn’t be that way. Ecclesiastes 5, verse 1 talked about how our worship should be reverent. That means everything we do but especially our time before the Almighty. Not boring, robotic, rigid or solemn but reverent. It’s logical, then, that verses 2 and 3 should remind us that quick words without thought behind them aren’t reverent. Too often they can turn our reverent worship into something else. For instance, I have regrets over hasty judgments and hasty words. Too many times in my life I have been quick to judge someone or something, and then I’ve let my mouth do the rest. I’ll admit that I fear God if He is fair in judging my speech because I haven’t always been reverent, I haven’t always been thoughtful, and I haven’t always been patient or even loving. Late at night, the demons come to attack me with these regrets. Over time, they come less and less the farther I get from bad times, but when it happens, it seems like babble from below.

And yet…and yet in all this I find comfort. I find comfort that God may indeed find some of what I say to be babbling, but He also is much more patient than I am. There’s comfort in knowing that God looks into my heart and sees what’s really there, which I take to be a good thing since He could have struck me down a long time ago for all the stunts I’ve pulled. Where I’ve been a fool, God is patient and wise; where I think I have been wise, God is encouraging, even when He shows up my wisdom for the foolishness it sometimes is. And in all things, God gives us the opportunity to be hungry for Him, hungry for more even when we’ve babbled, boggled ourselves, or botched things up. When we come back to Him, He satisfies and forgives while instilling a righteous and pure hunger to know Him more.

Finally, there’s a reassurance about those prayers themselves. With prayer, when we honestly open our hearts to Him, He sees it. When we’re in communication with His spirit, there is no babbling. There may indeed be much we have to say and sometimes that may seem like it’s all over the map. It’s like pouring Lego’s out of a box. They’re all shapes and sizes but they all fit together, you know? Sometimes our thoughts are like that, but God wants to hear them, especially if they’re cluttering up other matters that are underneath. To get to those, maybe we have to pick away the clutter up above. All of it matters.

Hence, it’s nearly two AM and when I’m done with this writing, I’ll go back to bed and go back to praying. The middle kid is home, safe and sound. At one in the morning, there isn’t much I can or should try to do about all those other things, so I’ll go have some quality time with the Maker. At the end of it, like the song says, there will be peace in the valley for me. And you too.

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