I’m not a good sleeper, but last night I slept … good. The night colored darker than usual, the sound machine gently lulled my slumber, the overhead ceiling fan operated at full throttle, and there were no boys above me to creak the witness of their presence. I went to bed earlier than usual, tucking myself in with some truth from God’s Word and some audible prayers for the saints.
Sleep was sweet, and then sleep was interrupted. Not by a loud noise or a neighboring dog or even the sound of my husband snoring. No, the culprit behind my “bolt-upright in bed” response was nothing more than the sound of a page turning in my Bible. It lay open by my bed; apparently the breeze created by the ceiling fan forced its movement. In doing so, it forced my notice.
For a few minutes, I became cognizant to the spiritual domain hovering close by. I’m not a mystic, nor do I major on the physical manifestations of the “unseen” dimension that I heartily believe to be at work around us 24/7. But I’ve lived with God long enough and deep enough to realize when he is making a point.
He made one last evening, and before I could forget it, I grabbed the pad of paper and pen that lay bedside and wrote down these words in the dark…
That’s the way our faith is with God. He shows up, pages turn, and the whispers of his grace wake us from our dismal slumber.
As quickly as I was awakened from my slumber, I returned to its embrace. When I awoke this morning, I wondered if my imagination was to blame for my earlier alertness. One quick glance at my notebook told me otherwise. The handwriting was a bit skewed, but the words verified the moment. And this morning, I’m thinking that maybe someone today needs to hear the truth about a “showing up, page turning, whispering grace” kind of God.
Our faith activates his presence. Every time. There is no “maybe” on his part; no “if I feel like it” or “if I’m not busy”. Our God is faithful to arrive upon the scenes of our lives as we are faithful to seek him out. Not just at night (although I think the quiet of evening and the cover of darkness is tailor made for his arrival), but also during the daytime when light is obvious and our senses are most alert to the movement around us.
If God is about anything, he’s about turning the pages of our stories with the idea that a conclusion is fast approaching. We cannot stop his inevitable end to our stories; we can stall the progress toward that end … put up roadblocks and force some heavy editing in the process, but make no mistake. Our books are being written by the very hand of God, and one day soon, ours will shelve alongside the ancients of old where we will spend an eternity, together with them, enraptured by the “read”.
Some of you, today, need for a page to turn in your life. Need the hand of God to reach down from heaven and end the suspense of the preceding paragraphs that have captured your attention for a long season. You desire to move on, to get on with the rest of your story, but you are stuck … mired down in the confusion of some words and with an understanding that refuses to move you on to the next page. Perhaps your strength has waned with the reading, forcing your slumber and your inattentiveness. Perhaps, even your faith has taken a hit.
I understand. I, too, have hosted some seasons of being stuck. I’m afraid I don’t have a ten-step plan or a fifteen-chapter book that will guarantee your success at breaking free from its grip. No, when I walk through times of slumber, times of wishing for the “page to turn” but unable to do so through my own strength, the only thing I know to do is to keep walking … keep refusing the pre-mature end to my story that, apparently, has a chapter or two more to be written.
In those seasons, I simply bring the unfinished product to Jesus, lay it before him, and ask him to move it forward … to move me forward. To reach down from heaven with the whispers of his grace and to blow the pages of my life and the faith of my heart onward.
He’s never disappointed me; he’s always been faithful and deliberate with his showing up. Granted, the progress is sometimes a bit slow for my taste, but even then, I’m willing to concede that my taste and my Father’s are not always equal in their merit. I cannot see the finished product; he can, and so I make a decision to trust him with the pace believing that the end will arrive on time and with the sacred conclusion of my final perfection.
I don’t how this strikes you today; maybe it’s not for you. But for a few of you, those of you whose eyes have grown “weak” and whose perception has grown dim, I want you to know the truth of my late-night encounter with the presence of the living God. When you activate your faith and incline your heart in his direction, he is faithful to reach down from the heavenlies and to turn the pages of your story in perfect keeping with his will.
If you are stuck today, I pray the whispers of God’s grace to be your portion and the witness of his presence to be your comfort. Your story is but one divine breath away from turning its page and moving its words forward into the annals of an everlasting faith. May God grant you the courage and the wisdom to relinquish the pen into his capable hands. As always…
PS: I didn’t plan on being here today, but then again, I didn’t plan on a night visitor. I don’t know when I’ll be here again; I’m sensing the need to pull away for a few days. Please know that I keep you in my heart throughout the day. You’ve all become a vital and integral part in my faith journey, and I count it a privilege to live in fellowship with you. Enjoy this beautiful day we’ve been given; may the sure and certain presence of our Father find you on the pages of your story this week. Shalom.