Meditation at Midnight

I cannot sleep,

Dear God, I cannot sleep!

I cannot sleep

Because so many hands keep

Beckoning me. And faces stare,

And voices, piteous voices call

Upon the midnight air.

And God, O can it be

That once upon a time, like me

Thou couldst not sleep?

Because of many hands

Outstretched from all the lands;

Because so many voices call–

Voices and hearts and bodies all.

O, how they call! O, how they call!

-Ralph Cushman



I thought of this poem at 2 am on Monday morning when I could not sleep.

Can you identify with the emotions expressed in this poem? Have you felt the pangs of that call?

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8 thoughts on “Meditation at Midnight

    1. There are two sides to the thing, of course. On one hand, apathy is bad. To not know about the crying voices and to not care. Or worse yet, to know but still not care.

      On the other hand, we can burden ourselves down by carrying the world’s sorrow on our own shoulders instead of bringing people to Jesus for His healing and redemption. It can be a challenge to live this well–to both care deeply and to release people to Jesus.

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      1. So true. I also think that sometimes we bounce from one side to the other. It hurts to care, and we fail to release the people to Jesus. Then because it hurts so much and we become burdened down, we turn off our feelings and refuse to care. But sometimes it is so hard to release!

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  1. Victoria

    Not to bug you or anything….but where’s that mission post? Wasn’t it great fun to hang out the other day?!

    Ok so I’m just going to go on a brief rant. Brief. I deal with people every day in my job, who have been violently raped, have been beaten with hammers and crowbars to where they have broken bones and bleeding on the brain, and many other things that are horrific beyond any imagination. I see this every single day, five days a week, eight hours a day. And more when I’m on call at night. Meanwhile, churches build $800,000 recreational buildings that say in the mission statement that they are here to advance the kingdom. Honestly, how does that make any sense at all? Come help me give homes and safety and JESUS to these broken, beaten, bleeding women and children. Spend your $800,000 on that please. I’d call that advancing the kingdom. Ok end of rant.

    I’ll probably get a lot of flack about this. I’ve started not using my name on blog comments because of all the flack I’ve gotten. But in this case, I don’t care. This is my passion. I’m called to help these victims. Why in all creation won’t people stand up? I could weep forever.

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    1. “Meanwhile, churches build $800,000 recreational buildings that say in the mission statement that they are here to advance the kingdom. Honestly, how does that make any sense at all?”

      I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense to me. I feel sick every time I think of it. It’s so confusing to me, because I think these are good people doing these things. But then I think, how COULD a Christian do this? I don’t support or agree with it at all.

      All I can do, at this point, is to pray and to ask God to show me how I can help care for the broken people in this world. The recreational building people will have to answer for themselves before God, just as I have to answer for my own actions.

      The missions post is still fermenting in my brain. Maybe Sunday I will start writing. 🙂 Some things to consider: what do we put first in our mission efforts, and how does that affect our worldview? What are some of the far-reaching side effects of some of our traditional methods of doing missions? What does it mean for God’s Kingdom to come, His will to be done?

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