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Friday, September 14, 2012

Got Earplugs?

Call me obsessive, but I took extra precautions to get some shut-eye on my first trip to New York City. I brought my earplugs! Police sirens, airplanes, taxicab horns, shrill screams from the alley are peculiar and unfamiliar sounds for one accustomed to slumbering “deep in the heart of Texas.” Although I was prepared for the city that never sleeps, later I was totally blindsided by the bizarre experiences of sleeping in Africa. Note to self: when trekking in Africa remember to bring your earplugs.
I turned a deaf ear to my pastor’s warnings about bringing earplugs. What could possibly keep one awake in the middle of a barren desert? There were no signs of modern civilization—only grass huts, Fulani nomads and lots of dirt. No screens, no electricity, no roads, no cars, no lights—none of the typical things that disturb our sleep in “civilized” countries. After an exhausting day of ministry in the desert country of Niger, nothing could deter my eyes from closing—or so I thought.

First, the dogged winds of the Hamarttan filled my ears with a low monotonous groan as the sun set over the Sahara. What followed was the bleating of goats, the cackling of hens and the most peculiar sound I’ve ever heard—roars from camels. But the greatest deterrence to rest was the nearby voices of the Fulani as they watched us toss and turn on our beds. It’s an eerie feeling to know that curious eyes are watching you try to sleep.

There are many voices that whisper to us in the still of the night. Voices of guilt, fear, anger, regret and loneliness can plague us on our pillows. Spiritually speaking, God has provided us with the most effective pair of earplugs imaginable. As believers, we can learn to tune out those voices that threaten to steal, kill and destroy our lives (and our sleep) through the power of God’s Word.

For example, how can the scriptures drown out the voice of regret? Many times the “What ifs” and the “Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda’s” can cripple our ability to rest. Yes, we really do make the bed we sleep on, but we must remember that God’s forgiveness is always available. Start by memorizing 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Then begin to meditate upon different aspects of this truth (Psalm 119:148). Begin by considering the significance of the words “if” or “all”—what if they were omitted? Maybe you need to meditate on His faithfulness to you through the activities of the day. Or ponder how a Holy God could be just in forgiving you of every mistake that you have made. A clean conscious before God is the most comfortable pillow that one can have to prepare for rest.

Whether you are in New York, Niger or Nacogdoches, TX remember God’s earplugs. When those destructive voices whisper in the night, memorize, meditate and appropriate God’s promises. Like earplugs—God’s promises are ineffective till you use them.


  1. I think your experience in Africa taught you that no matter where you go, you should always have your earplugs with you. =) On the other hand, it was good that you heard those different sounds in Africa. After all, not many people can say that they’ve heard camels roar. Haha! So, you’re still one of the lucky ones. =)

    Darren Mcandrews

  2. check out this you tube of a camel