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Awaken to a New Day

Awaken to a New Day

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I lie down and sleep;
    I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
    assail me on every side. — Psalm 3:5-6

In honor of my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, and his life work helping Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith, I offer you one of his devotional teachings from the beloved Psalms.

Did you know that when you woke up this morning, you experienced a miracle? When you went to sleep last night, it was an act of great faith — or at least it would have been if you fully understood the risk involved. According to Jewish tradition, sleeping is “one-sixtieth of death.” The soul actually leaves the body and runs the risk of never returning.

This is why the first Jewish prayer said in the morning is to thank God for restoring our souls. We recognize that if we woke up this morning, it is because God actively intervened so that we could live another day. When God restores our souls each morning, it is tantamount to resurrecting the dead!

In Psalm 3, King David saw this miracle as inspiration.

This psalm was penned during one of the most excruciating episodes of David’s life: His very own son, Absalom, had launched a rebellion against him, and a successful one at that. If not for God’s divine intervention, David would have lost the throne. But David wrote, “I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side” (v. 6). Although the odds were against him, David was not afraid.

Where did he draw this strength in the face of adversity? The answer is found in the words of his psalm, “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.” David understood that God was working miracles in his life every time he awoke in the morning. If God could perform a miracle on that level daily, David had no doubt that God could — and would — deliver him with more miracles throughout the day.

There are times in our lives when we are in desperate need of miracles. The odds are against us, and we are tempted to give up the fight. However, King David reminds us that despair is never an option and hope is always available — because if you are breathing this very moment it’s because you have already received the greatest miracle of all today — the miracle of your life.

Recently, a friend was going through a difficult legal battle. He lost, and the ramifications were devastating. Everyone told him that launching an appeal was hopeless, but he did anyway and shocked everyone by winning against all odds.

There are so many stories to turn to for inspiration. Patients who were told they would die and then lived 50 more years, or people who were destitute and were suddenly blessed with money. But we need not turn any further than our waking up this morning to find encouragement and the strength we need for this day.

As we awaken to the miracles in our daily lives, we will awaken to a day full of possibility, hope, and God’s salvation.

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