Hoot Owls and Sleepless Nights

By Vince Hefner
Type: Devotion
Subject: Prayer; Devotional Time; Sleeplessness

Hoot Owls and Sleepless Nights

Dr. Vince Hefner, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Cherryville, N.C.

I heard an old wives’ tale that if a hoot owl hooted outside your bedroom window three nights in a row you were going to die, or you were going to lose someone you love. Well, a hoot owl has been outside my window for about four weeks and I’m still alive and kicking! The only thing that I have lost is a good’s night sleep! Either he has lost his touch or is at the wrong house. Don’t misunderstand me, I love nature, but this hoot owl would bring out the worst in the president of the SPCA. I know why they are state-protected birds, because without the protection of the Fed’s these birds would be extinct. I don’t mind him hooting a little bit, but this bird hoots all nightlong! I asked my wife “What does he have to hoot about? Is he trying to set an endurance record?” She didn’t know the answer to my deep questions. When I was growing up I raised game chickens, and they went to sleep at a decent hour. They woke up early in the morning, but they had the decency to let you sleep at night.

Sometimes the hoot owl will get the neighbor’s dog to barking and then the two of them have a grand ol’ time. I am waiting for a cat to start singing at night so the hoot owl and dog can start jazz band. However, up to this point it is just a duo. If I knew what the hoot owl was hooting about I would try to get it for him or fix whatever is broken.

I figure that I can either get aggravated with my dilemma or make the most of a loud situation. Psalm 119:48 says, “My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word.” That ol’ hoot owl may have a purpose after all. It seems that during the daytime things are moving so fast that I don’t spend real quality time with God. I do everything in a hurry to get to the next task. I measure the success of each day by how much I got accomplished through meetings, calls, visits, and decisions reached on a variety of subjects.  It is very seldom that at the end of the day I measure my usefulness and effectiveness by how much I read the Bible and prayed.

My New Year’s resolution for 2019 is to rethink my idea of success and importance in God’s work for the local church. It is a mistake when a person allows the purpose of life (to honor Jesus Christ) to be overshadowed by the activities of life.

Maybe a hoot owl is not a curse but a blessing when he (or she) hoots outside your bedroom window for weeks at a time. I know that it is a blessing when I wake up and spend that time in prayer and in communion with God, with or without the hoot owl.

I have discovered that when God is the last Person on my mind at night, He is the first Person on my mind when I wake up in the morning. If you don’t believe me, then give this a try and see for yourself! Hoot on hoot owl, you may be the very thing I need to get my priorities in order for 2019 and beyond. However, don’t wait for a hoot owl or a dog barking at night to wake you up to spend time with God! Start off each day with pray and meditation and keep God’s presence in your life throughout the day.

Remember, don’t give in to sin. Think about it!