I was reading a familiar passage this week (Luke 9:38-36 - The Transfiguration) and I saw something there I had never noticed before. Jesus heads up the mountain, taking Peter, James, and John with Him. He was praying. That wasn’t surprising, Jesus is often heading to the mountain to pray. What I hadn’t seen before was verse 32 - “Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.” Doesn’t surprise me they were sleepy, kind of sounds like the prequel to Gethsemane. I just couldn’t believe I had never noticed that before. Then it hit me as ironic that since I have read this passage multiple times that the only reason I hadn’t seen it previously was that a part of me was “sleeping” as my eyes shifted through the words on the page.
Life is like that. We keep moving through it, but we miss so much along the way. We are so focused on certain things that it renders us totally oblivious to others. It’s far too easy to drift into the “sleep” of inattention. Ever driven to a familiar location and not remembered one thing about the drive there? It would be scary if we hadn’t done it so many times. The problem comes for us (and the disciples) when we get lulled into a pseudo-sleep that allows us to miss the amazing things all around us. Mich Album said, “Most of us all walk around as if we're sleepwalking. We really don't experience the world fully, because we're half-asleep, doing things we automatically think we have to do.”
I’d like to have seen the look on their faces when they “became fully awake” seeing “…the appearance of his face change, and his clothes becoming as bright as a flash of lightning.” All that and Moses and Elijah showing up too. It was, no doubt, a “spiritual awakening” for them.
Most of us will never have transfiguration moments, but that doesn’t give us an excuse to sleepwalk our way through life. My prayer this week has been for God to wake me up to all that He wants me to see around me in the course of my day. It’s working, I’m noticing where He is at work, the beauty of the relationships I have with others, and the opportunities to be thankful that I usually doze through. This is not a new idea. For years I’ve loved the lines from Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
“Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”
We all need a wake up call, even disciples in the blazing presence of God Himself on the top of a mountain. Maybe today is a good day for you to ask God to open your eyes to his activity that is around you all the time. You might be amazed at what you are missing.