Finally, this afternoon, when the house was still—the snow trucks had passed and even the appliances were silent—I went up to my prayer room and spent some time in scripture. I’ve been reading the book of John this week and it’s mesmerizing how Jesus comes alive in the text. You can feel his joys, his sorrows and his anger. You can even feel him breathe. Nowhere does he seem more genuine or vulnerable than in John 13. This is the “last supper” that has been immortalized in paintings. These are his final few hours with his closest followers. He knows he’s going to be betrayed later that night and the cross awaits him the next day. In those last moments together he speaks plainly—practically pleads for his disciples to understand he is the way to Heaven. He reminds them who it is that rules this world (not him or his father). He tells them about the Holy Spirit and says they won’t be alone, even when…they are. And he issues a commandment, the heart of which is to simply love. There is so much of Jesus that is fascinating in scripture, so much to learn and sort through, and things we can’t fathom, including the descriptions of him bringing the dead back to life. But it’s this moment with these men and the love and care he embodies for them that make me a believer.
My heart wants to become his heart. And yet everyday I find myself making a mess of things. Leave the stones on the ground: that should be my mantra. Learn to love like Him (it’s so hard when people are involved.) Jesus set an impossible example we can never live up to. What we can do is love the best we can, give grace, and see something of ourselves and how we want to be treated in others.
Only prayer could call down a snowfall this beautiful. Someone must have knelt in solitude, morning after morning, asking for the world to be blanketed white. God obliged and now millions of answered prayers drift down from the Heavens by the hour, unnoticed as such by those of us whose hearts and minds are full with the world.
Imagine seeing life this way—as if everything and every person in it were God-sent, placed here for a purpose and with a right to love. How that would change things.
We view this world in reverse with our human eyes. The darkness and the cold seem inevitable—waiting patiently to overwhelm the light. But the opposite is true. Darkness will someday be extinguished. It is the light that is eternal, and it is embodied in the one who loves us (for all eternity) and always meets us with bottomless grace.
Whomever prayed for the snow … I love you. God loves you. But you already know this, don’t you? You must have a gorgeous heart, and I can see that you use it.
Listening for the softest voices.
Close enough to hear silent prayers.
He is everywhere around us
and yet no one has ever seen Him
but the one and only Son.
When the world awakens at dawn,
He shows himself in heaven-breathed hues,
shot vivid across the sky.
The marks of his hands streaked through the clouds.
His spirit descended from Heaven like a dove,
burned like fire on His Son’s first followers,
and now it overflows in us.
His light fills the universe
and yet He still cares to think of us.
With only His voice, He made all we know.
Created everything we can see.
And a realm we can only sense.
On my knees, I send a few words back your way.
Humble words of love and praise.
I know they won’t be lost,
For you care especially for the wanderers,
for the ones who pray incessantly,
Through tears and heartache and joy.
Listen for the softest voices,
Draw close to hear unspoken prayers.
You are everywhere around us.
Go on revealing your face.
I woke this morning to the sound of pouring water. Just before opening my eyes, I heard a cup being poured out—maybe over something … or someone—and then it was gone. There was a quick splash followed by running water, and then it was over. Disappeared. I heard it plain as anything, and now I am sure the Holy Spirit was speaking to me.
This is the second time I was awakened by a clear but inexplicable sound while lying in bed. The first occurrence was a blaring alarm days before Christmas. The noise filled the whole house.
My daughter was staying with me that morning, too, and it startled me. I was about to run upstairs to see if she was safe. But when I opened my eyes, it stopped. I didn’t know what it could mean then. Was something trying to stop me from hearing the Lord?
Lately I have been under heavy spiritual attack. I won’t reveal the details because they are deeply personal, but I will say I was being bombarded with thoughts not consistent with my faith. And I abruptly put an end to them. How? Strength that can only be found in Jesus.
I am wondering if this new sound means I won this battle or at least a skirmish. I never fancied myself as one of these Christians who “hears” things or who has any sort of spiritual gifting, necessarily, beyond my writing. But I am beginning to wonder: Lord, what’s my purpose? Let me hear you clearly. I’ll do whatever you ask!
My house becomes a spiritual retreat of sorts on Saturday mornings. The world is reduced to the space between my walls and the knowledge revealed to me in prayer and scripture readings. This morning I was reading a familiar passage in the book of John—a story I’ve read and heard taught numerous times. In John 2, we are told the story of Jesus revealing his glory for the first time by changing water to wine. For many of us believers, this seems a curious way for our Messiah to introduce himself to the world. Why use your power in such a trivial way, saving newlyweds from embarrassment at their wedding reception? Certainly the Son of Man has larger concerns than this. Why choose this moment to stand in God’s glory?? But as is often the case with scripture reading, this story came across to me in a different way today. Repetition of the word “servants” (see below) began to stand out to me and then it came clear. This passage is to be read as yet another parable, and we are to put ourselves in the place of the nameless servants. We must do what Jesus tells us, without question. And when we do, He reveals himself to us. We are then to share what we know about Him (what we know to be so beautiful and glorious) with those who have never felt his glory!
John 2:5 — But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
John 2:7 — Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.”
John 2:8 — He said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions.”
John 2:9 — When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over.