Wednesday, April 29, 2009

3:33 When the Numbers Fell Off the Clockface

On U2's new album, in the song Unknown Caller, Bono says it's 3:33 when the numbers fell off the clock-face. I just had a pretty interesting experience...and it happened at 3:33 the morning of April 28. It was pre-dawn, the day of my Silver Anniversary...25 years of marriage to my sweetheart.

Let me preface my comments today by saying these thoughts struck me in light of some interaction on the U2.com message board related to the topic of truth. I've found that as long as things can remain in the theoretical realm, people can hold to all kinds of beliefs. But what I've discovered in life is that when people face trial, trouble or tragedy, there are few atheists "in a foxhole." When the chips are down, there just aren't many people that don't turn to "God" in a crisis.

My wife and I are trying to sustain a dog-breeding business...beautiful dogs...English Goldens. We've had our share of struggles with it. You'd think breeding would be like falling off a log, but more can go wrong than you might think. The other night, one of our dogs went into labor...and there were complications...the first two pups, wonderfully developed and gorgeous, were, sadly, stillborn. My wife decided to take our dog to an emergency vet clinic. I got my wife and the dog all loaded up and I stayed home with the children. When I went back to my bedroom...you guessed it...3:33 on the clock face! No joke...I wouldn't lie about this.

I spent the next hour in prayer, thinking about our circumstances, but also thinking about Unknown Caller. I was reminded that we can talk belief systems all we want, but in times of crisis, prayer is an almost universal response. Where does such a response originate? It is the common response in crisis in every culture under the sun...and for one simple reason...the God of the Universe created us for relationship with Him.

The night didn't turn out too well...5 of the 7 pups were born dead...and we have no idea why. Some would say, "See, your prayers did no good at all." I would beg to differ. The purpose of prayer to God is not that I would twist His arm to do as I please...He is no Cosmic Genie. The REAL purpose of prayer is to allow me to "shush" in the Presence of the Almighty. The real purpose of prayer, as Bono sings, is to hear God; part of the wonder and beauty of prayer is the opportunity for me to cease to speak that God might speak.

Prayer gives me the opportunity to "force quit" my anxious thoughts, my racing brain, my worry, take it all, and "move to trash." My prayers that had begun at "3:33" had brought me to a place where, regardless of the life or death of pups, I was "free to go" and to "shout for joy."

Jeremiah 33:3--Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.

One of the great joys of being a Christ-follower is that I can KNOW that I have confidence before the Creator when I pray...and it's not because I've been especially good or holy. Rather, it's because Jesus, my Redeemer, was good and holy and righteous on my behalf and shares with me His Right Standing with the Father. I can come in the Name of Jesus, in the very place of Jesus Himself, before the Father. I can know that as the Father is favorably disposed toward Jesus, He will be similarly favorable toward me because of my relationship to Christ.

So, you can debate the historicity of Christ, the accuracy of the Bible (and I'll debate with you all day long!). But in the final analysis, at 3:33, at the scene of the accident...you're going to cry out...and you're going to hope there is Someone listening...Christians know...and rest secure, leaning on the Everlasting Arms.

6 comments:

Alan Matthews Photography said...

Great one, Bob.

protagonisttheory said...

Thanks for writing this, Bob. Beautifully done.

dck777 said...

It is hard for me to get used to the idea of God hearing me when I call. Sometimes it feels like I am talking to the known universe without an answer, especially right now. I'm a doubter by nature, God knew that I would be when He called me. I just need to work on listening...

The Bobosphere said...

all of us struggle with fearing God may not hear us when we call...one of the biggest effects of the fall of the world into sin are broken feelings...we just can't always trust feelings...sometimes the heavens may feel they are shut when the reality is the Father's ear is bent to earth to hear our cry.

dck777 said...

Your kind words are much appreciated. Thanks. It's good to know that some people out there are actually being the hands and feet of Christ rather than just talking about it.

XxDeathIScythexX said...

I've been seeing these same exact signs. Looking at my clock it would be 3:33, looking at my computer there would be a number 3.33 and as well as people in my family experiencing this number and even waking up a 3:33am. Its definitely a sign. Hes out there trying to tell us what he wants us to know