Can’t Keep My Eyes Open!

If You’d Like to listen to an audio version of this Coffee Stain, scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Have you ever been sooooo sleepy that you couldn’t keep your eyes open … but you had to?

Once I was taking a very interesting missions course from a very interesting teacher. But the class fell first thing after lunch, right in the period when my stomach likes to calmly digest things. If I happen to get still during this time, my stomach sends up hypnotic messages: “Go to sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep.”

The problem was that this very interesting teacher had a very strange way of assigning grades. He had two unusual tests during the year (the second one was optional), a term paper plus class participation. But for him, “class participation” wasn’t just answering his questions.

“I might see the interested look on your face, and that would count,” he informed us.

So I was going to be graded on the interested look on my face? First period after lunch? With my stomach sending up, “sleep, sleep, sleeeeeeeeep!” signals?

At times I felt I was lifting thousand-pound weights in that class, but it was only my eyelids that I was trying to prop up. Actually, I got an A for the course but I told you that he had a weird grading system.

Weird people excel in weird grading systems.

Still, trying to stay awake when ever fiber of your being lulls you towards the nivana of slumber, hurts horribly.

Still A Problem
I have the same battle to stay awake spiritually. It shakes me when I read in Luke 21,

“But take heed to yourselves and be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed (weighed down) with the giddiness and headache and nausea of self-indulgence, drunkenness, and worldly worries and cares pertaining to [the business of] this life, and [lest] that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or a noose; For it will come upon all who live upon the face of the entire earth.” (Luke 21:34, 35 Amplified)

Partying and drunkenness isn’t my thing, but “worldly worries and cares”? That bites!

Here’s how Eugene Peterson says it in The Message,

“But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.” (Lk. 21:34-36)

The more alive you are to this world, the less awake you are to spiritual things. Honestly, I knew that partying and boozing would dull your spiritual senses but worrying? Yup. If I want to be on my toes to the fact that the Lord is coming, I need to learn to leave my worries with Him and fill my mind with His Word, His promises, and get busy reaching out to the hurting in His Name. The more His business is on my mind, the less time I have to worry about my worries.

According to verse 36, it seems like prayer also plays a powerful role in keeping us awake to what God is saying. “Pray constantly.”

Lord, help me to stay awake. This is too important and I can’t sleep my life away buried under the bedcovers of worries and constantly seeking a good time. All this that I see is going to finish up and the unseen reality will become powerfully known. I want to be ready for that day. I want to do your will in this life. Help me stay awake.

The Holy Spirits stimulates you more than twelve cups of coffee. He’ll wake you up and get you busy if you ask Him.

So ask Him already. This is no time to be sleeping!

“When your memories exceed you dreams, the end is near … Vision is a reflection of a broken heart. Wherever you are in ministry there has got to be something that breaks your heart, that reflects the broken heart of God. If I’m more worried about getting the next operating system on my computer than I am about broken people, then I have a heart problem … My vision has dissipated … Vision begins with a burden and a burden reflects a broken heart.” Andy Stanley.


The yellow school bus slowly disgorged its occupants in front of the venerable institution of learning, otherwise known as Mineral Springs Schools. I slowly shuffled towards the building with the enthusiasm of a condemned man heading for the gallows.

Lots of fun things were going on in the world that day, but hardly any of them were going to happen in that building where I was heading. My slow gait reflected the sleepy, uninspired state of my soul as that day’s destiny loomed in front me.

Later that morning in Miss Mary’s class, the sweet little teacher remarked to me, “I saw you coming towards the building this morning and laughed. The way you were walking I said to the other teachers in the lounge, ‘David is going to have to be a doctor or something like that, with that slow, patient walk.’”

A doctor??? Patient walk? Me?

If my football coach had looked out of the window and saw me like that, he would probably have yelled, “Hey Porter! Pick it up! You can do better than that. Faster. Faster!” If my math teacher had looked out the window and seen me she might have said, “Look at David dragging up here. He probably hasn’t done his math homework again.”

But Miss Mary looked out the window and instead of seeing a goof-off, she saw a future doctor … or something.

Some people seem gifted by the Lord to see things in others that those people can’t even see themselves.

A fellow name Saul was striding down the road, heading for Damascus, followed by his band of very un-merry men. He was happy because he was going to be knocking some heads very shortly. But God “knocked” his head and he found himself whimpering and blind in the presence of the risen, Lord Jesus.

Later in Damascus, he waited to see what the Lord wanted to do with him. Suddenly God appeared in a vision to a man named Ananias and told this good disciple that Saul was praying. Ananias probably thought, “He needs to pray—a lot—that turkey.” (That’s not in the Bible. That’s from David).

All the same God showed his man what Saul was going to be,

“But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” ( Acts 9:15, 16 NIV)

God used the faithful man to pray for Saul/Paul and give him an indication of what he would do for the Lord. We’re all blessed because Ananias saw beyond the surface of a violent killer and discerned what God could do with and in him.

Hey, Sunday School teacher. Can you imagine what that little rascal in your class might be some day? A bank robber? Or president of the bank? A blight on society or a healing medicine for society? Who knows what power your encouragement and vision could have?

Mama, what do you see in that child? “You’re just like your daddy! You’ll never amount to anything.”

When you “prophesy” into a child like that, it’s hard for the little one to overcome your curses in his life. Dad, you too.

Watch your mouth because your words have a direct route to your child’s heart. Ask God for his vision for your child.

Hey pastor, what do you see when you preach to your people? “Bunch of lazy, stingy, loafers! They’ll never amount to much. I’m just here until I can get a good church.” Or, “Hey, folks this is what God has recreated us to be in his love, and slowly but surely, that’s what we’re becoming.”

Do we see the potential in those that God has put in our lives (if God intervenes in them)? What difference would it make in our actions towards them if we saw them as God sees they can be? How would we pray for them? What would our words to them be like? What kind of dreams and hopes would we carry for them (not imposing our vision for their lives but inspiring them to aspire to all that God created them to be)?

Some people see goof-offs when they look at others and some see doctors
. Could you ask God to give you eyes so that you can see your children, your church, your unsaved neighbor, your friends, your spouse, just like He sees them?

What do you see?