Sleepless Nights and Choosing Good

2:30 in the morning and I can’t sleep. I sit in a chair, wrapped up in a blanket and lost in thought.

Are sleepless nights something that only the privileged experience? Do women in slums in Pakistan experience sleepless nights of worry, or are they too exhausted from the physical labor required that they grab whatever sleep they can?

I find odd comfort in the book of Kings. For those not familiar, these are books in the Old Testament. They are full of blood shed and violence, full of stories of tragedies, full of the sordid tales of leaders and others doing evil things. Game of Thrones, from all I’ve heard, has nothing on the book of Kings.

These books tell the narrative of the different Kings of Israel and Judah. They begin with David’s death and sweep us through history looking at every single King. I’ve no idea what scholars say about the books of Kings but it strikes me that the theme is simple; really simple.

Either they did what was good, or they did what was evil. There is no ambiguity. We are told their names and immediately after their names we have an assessment of their lives. They either chose to do right or they chose to do wrong.

Could it be that simple? Could it be that I complicate my life far more than I need when it’s really about choosing God and good, or choosing to not choose God and not choose good? About refusing evil and choosing good? 

Could it be that in the middle of these worldwide tragedies that are so far away in distance, and yet so close to all of us in terms of news reports, that what I am called to is to do good? An earthquake in Iran; Rohingya refugees; an ongoing crisis in Syria – yet in my fairly comfortable little corner, I am called to do good?

Is it that simple? 

And what is “good”?

Even as I ask the question, I know.

To do good means to love my neighbors, something that I find inordinately difficult.

To do good means to take that second and third step out of my way to connect with the homeless on my streets. To do good means to get to know their names.

To do good means to do my job well, with excellence, even when I’m tired or bored.

To do good means to love and pray for my family, to reach out across distance and miles.

To do good means to open my home to others – for meals, for coffee, for tears, for friendship.

To do good means to seek God in everything.

It may not not make headlines, but doing good rarely does.

Today the prayer of my heart is that I choose to do good.

5 thoughts on “Sleepless Nights and Choosing Good

  1. It seems appropriate to comment this morning at 3:30 AM as I am also awake and at my sister and brother -n-laws in ‘cold’ Michigan. As the Christmas holidays are now very near we can expect, as years in the past, to see evil personified as Satan tries his best to battle the world heralding the birth of the King of Kings!

    May we keep our eyes on that baby in the manger who left all the glories of heaven to dwell with us and bring us the greatest ‘freedom’ we could ever know. Thank you Marilyn for your insights.


  2. He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
    and what does the LORD require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8~NRSV)

    Of course, it would be nice if Micah had fleshed this out a bit. I appreciate your list, especially the one about doing my job well whether or not I feel like it. It’s a good reminder.


  3. Very well said. To think through “the big picture” and apply it to your life was well worth a sleepless night. Certainly, the Holy Spirit was active in your life.


  4. thank you. I forwarded it as our Meeting is sponsoring a food drive this week, something new in doing good on a larger scale. 2500# collected yesterday on the first day of the week drive! Blessings! (you don’t know me but my parents were dear friends of Sharon’s parents in MA; I’m currently in NC.


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