In Bible School, it was strongly recommended (read: mandated) that each student have ‘morning devotionals,’ which were meant as ‘daily time with God.’ This was presented as a universal requirement for all serious, committed Christians. Unfortunately, student life often meant many late nights, turning early morning anything into drudgery. Further, much to my surprise, not everyone fits the happy, clappy early morning profile. For them, they are bewildered hearing there is such a thing as 8 AM. Since those days, I’ve pondered the ideal conditions for having a fruitful time of centering on the Lord only to conclude that there are as many ways to do that as there are people. For most of us I think having no distractions is pretty important. So, it may before sunup, in a comfy chair, feet up, a steaming cup of tea or coffee beside you. It may be a preferred late night session, propped up in bed, kids/spouse asleep, chores done (for today), house finally quiet, and winding down, savoring the quiet with a Bible, devotional booklet, journal, or simply, and silently, reviewing the day, anticipating tomorrow, with the Lord. Then there are the better-coordinated, energetic ones who enjoy walking and talking with the Lord, around the block, in the park, along the beach. The amazing thing is that whenever, and wherever, Jesus is found waiting for us .
But suppose you were engrossed in this much-coveted private time, contemplating, musing, praying, when all of a sudden a very loud voice speaks to you from behind – out of nowhere! You spin around, heart pounding, to see who this is in your space (later, you marvel that you didn’t spill your coffee, or at best, choke on your last sip). You see someone who, at first glance, looks like a terrifying sci-fi creature in your room (on your path)! But he calls you by name in a tender voice and you somehow recognize that it’s Jesus himself! Sensing your fear, he speaks to calm you, to settle your jangled nerves, seeks to reassure you that he loves you with a love that is humanly incomprehensible. This was the Apostle John’s experience on the Isle of Patmos. What if, this year, 2023, Jesus needs to interrupt our ‘normal’ with a similar visit? (After all, he is the God who never changes! That means he could choose to do so again). In light of evil’s devastation running rampant on multiple fronts throughout the world , destroying lives, destroying countries, God may want his heart of love to intervene through us as he did through the Apostle John and countless millions since. Our ‘endless pilgrimage of the heart’ (per Rabbi Abraham Heschel) may include abrupt, life-changing (scared witless) encounters with God’s radiant glory. I wouldn’t dare say I’m ready, but I’m all in, wanting to be found faithful. You? PD