This is a true story. It’s about my friend Steve who’s good at many things, but especially sleeping. Emergency siren? Steve sleeps. Lightning and thunder? Steve slumbers. Fierce winter storm? Steve dozes like a baby with a full belly … all of which makes the events of the past month curiouser and curiouser.
You see, last autumn Steve’s dad passed. They’d had a tumultuous relationship for years, close to the point of estrangement. However, fifteen years ago they managed to reconcile. Father and son let bygone-be-bygones and became good friends.
After returning home from his father’s funeral, Steve, the king of shut-eye, started waking up in the middle of the night. He awakened each and every night at precisely same time, 3:22 AM, as confirmed by his bedside digital clock. And he did so for three weeks straight. It wasn’t a momentary toss-and-turn awake, but a deer-in-the-headlights, eyes-wide-open awake.
To say Steve wasn’t disturbed by this new phenomenon would be like calling a cat a dog. This 3:22 AM drill had him stupefied, mystified, frightened and damned near ready for commitment.
That is until his wife had an epiphany. She figured it could be a message, perhaps a bible passage. They’re both non-church going, casual Christians, but after looking high and low they finally found their old bible.
Then they started with the New Testament. Matthew 3:22? Nope. John 3:22? Nope. Luke 3:22? That’s when they were struck dumb with astonishment as they read “a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”
They stared at each other in wonder. Could it be? Of course not! But there it was in black and white. There was no rational way of explaining it. It just was.
And that that put an end to Steve’s 3:22 AM awakenings. But, the supernatural wasn’t done with Steve yet. That night he woke up at exactly 3:17 AM. The next morning, they went back to their bible and, behold, they found this in Matthew 3:17, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Steve’s nocturnal interruptions ceased after that. He went back to his old ways of long, undisturbed, restful nights. His father’s “final messages” have proven to be of great comfort to him. And though the old Steve is back, he and his wife will probably be a little less casual about their spirituality from here on out, having confirmed Shakespeare’s age old counsel, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
p.s. A week or so following Steve’s 3:22 AM and 3:17 AM “messages” from his father, he attended his granddaughter’s christening at a church in a nearby large city. He and his wife sat in wide-eyed disbelief when the text for the sermon was read … you guessed it, Matthew 3:17. Perhaps “disbelief” is the wrong word?
p.p.s. I’m not a bible-thumper, nor is Steve. I write this in no way trying to proselytize, evangelize, confirm or deny. However, as the renowned atheist Jean-Paul Sartre once wrote, “She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist.”