As I enter my daughter's room, her alarm clock is blasting. It sounds like a jackhammer. Literally. I mean all 113 decibels of it. It is louder than a blaring car horn (110 decibels) but not quite as loud as a jet engine (120 decibels). Her clock also has a 12-volt bed shaker and strobe lights. So as a jackhammer is booming in her ears, her bed is shaking violently and bright lights are flashing in her face. If she didn’t begin the day with a panic attack, you’d think she’d be out of bed in an instant.
Not so. She is sleeping peacefully with the alarm detonating inches from her head. I’m awake. The whole house is awake. The high-strung poodle is on the edge of insanity. I’ve made the leap over.
This is no ordinary alarm clock. It’s called the sonic bomb. Lest you think my description exaggerated, here are some comments from Amazon:
The volume can be adjusted for those who do not want to have a heart attack when they wake up….it feels like an earthquake is happening, and you WILL wake up in a total panic… I really can't express with words just how startling it is to have your own personal mattress earthquake…even my neighbor next door can hear it half way through her house.
At first, the sonic bomb worked beautifully. But my daughter quickly became oblivious to the piercing sound, intense shaking, and blinding lights. Completely understandable. I decide to call the company to see if they have a better model, since they specialize in hard to wake sleepers.
After I explain the problem, there’s stunned silence. The salesperson finally says, “I have been working here a long time and I’ve never had that request. Your alarm clock works for everyone. I’m sorry, ma’am, there’s nothing more we can do.”
It’s worse than I feared. So my daughter and I come up with a plan. If she doesn’t wake up with the alarm, I will activate a blow horn in her room. The kind that ships use to warn vehicles miles away that they are coming. I’m not kidding. Needless to say, it bothers my ears more than hers.
I also try spraying her directly with a squirt bottle. While that is fun (for me at least), unfortunately the spray only succeeds in soaking the down comforter. My daughter's slumber continues uninterrupted.
Next, I try gentle methods: a soothing backrub, a kiss on her cheek, an off-key rendition of silly songs. These ideas don’t work well either.
In the process, I discover that throwing a full glass of ice water on her head as she sleeps, wakes her up instantly. Admittedly, this method was a spur of the moment deviation from the wake up plan- brought on by my ever-so-slight irritation. Surprisingly, it made for a bit of a testy morning.
My daughter claims that she tunes everything out after a while. She hears it, almost like white noise and ignores it subconsciously. She insists she needs to be startled, to get her adrenaline flowing, for her to truly wake up. I can think of several ways to get her adrenaline going, but I won’t go there since they might attract the attention of child protective services.
You may be appalled at my persistence in awakening my daughter. You may believe that I should let natural consequences take their course, since this is her problem to solve. You may even think I’m a bit psychotic. While all of that is probably true, the process reminds me of God’s relentless pursuit of me.
God doesn’t give me just one chance to hear His still small voice. He wants my attention. He wants me to wake up- to my sin, my apathy, my deadness. He wants me to see all that He has for me and become the woman He created me to be. I want to go back to sleep.
I want the easy life. So I often ignore what’s in front of me, hoping it will go away. I know it’s unwise, but I do it anyway. Just like my daughter, I want to pull the covers over my head. Pretend my sin isn’t that bad, or that it’s time for me to prioritize myself, or that it’s okay to be spiritually lazy.
But God refuses to leave me to my own devices. And He uses many things in His pursuit of me- some as gentle as a backrub and others as jolting as a blow horn. Unlike me, He employs the most effective method. And He acts purely out of love- never annoyance or frustration. Everything He does has a purpose.
Overwhelmed by the stretching, growing, and often painful things He uses to sanctify me, I’ve tried to walk away. I’ve been so fed up with the trials I’ve endured, that I’ve ashamedly screamed, “I’m done with you, God! Leave me alone.” But in His unfathomable grace, He never leaves me. He holds on to me when I let go. And even when I push Him way.
Throughout Scripture, we see that God is the initiator and pursuer- He calls us, chases us, woos us, and changes us. He accepts us as we are, with all our sin & striving, and continues to interrupt our plans and desires for our good. He brings circumstances into our lives to refine us. He loves us too much to let us remain as we are.
God’s pursuit reminds me of the hymn, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go” by George Matheson, a blind preacher who wrote about God’s grace in the midst of suffering. As I write, I cannot stop singing it. (To reassure you, the link is NOT me singing.)
So what is God using to get your attention? Do you see it as His love for you? Are you listening for His voice in it?
Incidentally, if anyone has any other ideas about waking my daughter in the morning, I’m all ears. With the hearing I have left, that is.