Sleeping and Drowning

Sleeping and Drowning

Today is the birthday of Ivan Pavlov. Remember him from Psychology 101? His famous salivating dog experiment helped to solidify the theory of classical conditioning – that we are conditioned to certain responses as we experience them over and over again. For some extended period of time Pavlov submitted his dogs to a conditioning test. Before every meal, he would ring a loud bell. Then he would bring out the food, the dogs would see it, begin to salivate and Ivan would feed them. After awhile, the dogs would salivate simply from hearing the bell. They were conditioned to know that the food would always follow the bell.

As irony would have it, I rescued a drowning puppy this morning from my neighbor’s swimming pool. I heard him splashing and carrying on next door so I peaked through the fence to see for myself what the raucous was. My neighbors were still sound asleep, not realizing the danger their pup was in. So I jumped the fence and came to the rescue.

True story. It wasn’t like the movies though. There was no pomp and circumstance to follow. No slow motion. No thematic score from James Horner and the London Symphony Orchestra. Just the chirping of birds and the loud panting of the puppy. Kind of a letdown. But I saved him. I called my neighbors and woke them up and told them what happened and they were grateful. Relieved. Stunned. Overwhelmed. Motivated.

I think many times in our Christian walk we are as Keith Green said, “asleep in the light.” We have the truth of the gospel, the greatest news the world needs to hear, and we casually and comfortably sleep while the rest of the world drowns in the sickness of their own sin. We, the children of God, the only ones who have the life-saving devices, stay asleep in our cozy beds oblivious to the death surrounding us. And sadly we’ve conditioned ourselves to this. The habit of sleeping in the light has become such a part of us that as soon as we hear the screams of a panicky drowning world, we fall asleep. As soon as the bell rings, we salivate.

Would to God that He would awaken us from this stupor and find us grateful. Relieved. Stunned. Overwhelmed. Motivated. Grateful for His grace to bear with us. Relieved to have open eyes. Stunned at the condition of the world and the condition we were in. Overwhelmed at the enormous task in front of us. But motivated to get started again.

Awaken us, O God, from our sleeping state that we might see through Your eyes the world drowning in front of our faces.

“Asleep in the Light”
Do you see, do you see
All the people sinking down?
Don’t you care, don’t you care
Are you gonna let them drown?
How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes
And pretend the job’s done
Oh bless me Lord, bless me Lord
You know it’s all I ever hear
No one aches, no one hurts
No one even sheds one tear
But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds
And He cares for your needs
And you just lay back
And keep soaking it in,
Oh, can’t you see it’s such a sin?
Cause He brings people to your door,
And you turn them away
As you smile and say,
God bless you, be at peace
And all heaven just weeps
Cause Jesus came to your door
You’ve left Him out on the streets
Open up, open up
And give yourself away
You see the need, you hear the cries
So how can you delay?
God’s calling and you’re the one
But like Jonah you run
He’s told you to speak
But you keep holding it in,
Oh can’t you see it’s such a sin?
The world is sleeping in the dark
That the church just can’t fight
Cause it’s asleep in the light
How can you be so dead
When you’ve been so well fed

Jesus rose from the grave
And you, you can’t even get out of bed

Oh, Jesus rose from the dead
Come on, get out of your bed
How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes
And pretend the job’s done
You close your eyes
And pretend the job’s done
Don’t close your eyes
Don’t pretend the job’s done
Come away, come away, come away with Me, my love
Come away, from this mess, come away with Me, my love.

-Keith Green