[forthright] Asleep at the Post

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From: Forthright Magazine <ba@...>
Date: Fri, 06 Aug 2004 12:59:21 -0500
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

Today's Prayer: Life isn't fair

COLUMN: Heavenly Connections

Asleep at the Post
by Tim Hall

Who can blame Patricia Berg for being upset? In
the early morning hours of June 29, she was
awakened by noises. It sounded like someone was
trying to open her sliding glass door, so she
dialed 911 to request help. Her call was quickly
answered, and for a few moments her concerns were
noted. Then there was silence on the telephone.
For almost two minutes there was no response from
the man at the call center. Finally Patricia got
his attention again, and police were summoned.
Patricia is convinced the man responsible for
arranging emergency response fell asleep at his
post. An investigation is underway.

Sleep is a problem for many. So many things vie
for our attention, and some of us find it
difficult to break away and go to bed. Others have
trouble sleeping because of medical problems. It's
understandable when people nod off; most of us
have experienced such times. But if you're a key
person in a crisis situation, you've got to
somehow find a way to remain alert.

The Christian's first response to this story is
"I'm so thankful God is not that way." For the
faithful, God is our 911 call center, the one to
whom we turn in times of emergency. What if there
was doubt about whether or not he was at his post?
What if our prayers went unheeded as snoring was
heard in heaven? But we have unshakable confidence
that God is not that way. He never falls asleep at
his post.

The psalmist affirmed this truth in Psalm 121: "I
will lift up my eyes to the hills - from whence
comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who
made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot
to be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel shall neither slumber
nor sleep" (Psalm 121:1-3, NKJV). No, God is not
like people. People with good intentions can't
always resist the urge to sleep. God, however, is
always at his post. He's on call 24-7-365.

But Christians should not end their reflections on
this news item just yet. God is faithful, yes, but
what about those to whom he has entrusted the care
of others? God has placed responsibilities for
caring for other souls upon his people. Are
Christians trying to show diligence at their

Consider this statement of the Christian's
responsibility: "Pursue peace with all men, and
holiness, without which no one will see the Lord;
looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the
grace of God ..." (Hebrews 12:14,15). Diligence is
what all 911 workers must have. It's also what
Christians must exercise in their monitoring of
one another. When a brother or sister in Christ
sends signals of spiritual distress, is anyone in
the family paying attention?

Here's another instance of the same charge:
"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass,
you who are spiritual restore such a one in a
spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest
you also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1). The first
Christian mentioned in this verse is in danger.
Help is needed if that person is to survive. Will
the "spiritual" be on call, though? Or will they
be found snoozing while brethren are gasping
nearby? Falling asleep at one's post is a serious

Patricia Berg is okay. Police did not find any
evidence of attempted entry into her townhouse.
But if the danger had been real, she might not
have survived - because someone was asleep at
their post. How many have died spiritually because
their brethren were not alert to their cries for
help? What do we expect God to say to such

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