A friend recently asked me how I fit a quiet time into my busy life. In this month’s column I’ll describe a recent event and how it changed my outlook on quiet times. This term may be unfamiliar to some. Many people call it devotions, but it’s simply a time set aside to worship, pray, read the Bible, and talk to the Lord.
I was at the beach recently for a long restful weekend and looked forward to spending time talking to God. Although my husband Todd and I planned times of prayer as a couple, I also made a point to spend time with God on my own each morning. I routinely talk with the Lord throughout my day, but this was time uninterrupted.
Time alone on the beach reminds me of my mother and her love for the serenity of the sand and the waves. We used to have conversations about life being like the tide. Sometimes it’s in, and sometimes it’s out, but it’s always consistent.
My mother loved the irony of a strong and awesome God manifesting His strength with incredible beauty and peace but also with power.
As a child, the beach wasn’t my favorite place to be. I disliked the feel of sand between my toes. It took me many years to appreciate the peacefulness of the beach. Today, I’m thankful for the moments Todd and I can escape to the ocean and enjoy time away. I am also thankful for the sand between my toes!
In the weeks prior to our trip, the Lord reminded me about the need to fight for my time with Him in the morning and impressed on me the meaning of the following verse. Starting the day with Truth for whatever I’m dealing with changes the way I handle things.
“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:11, ESV).
God does not want us to strive all the time and perform to earn His favor. The only striving I need to do is to make every effort to get in His Presence and receive whatever He has for me that day. Furthermore, as my husband has reminded me, the battle for Quiet Time in the morning is always won the night before. Getting to bed at a good time allows us to get up earlier, feeling refreshed and ready to receive.
One morning on our trip, God woke me at 5:40 am and gave me a strong sense of, “Go to the beach NOW!” I felt a rush of anticipation as I hurried to get dressed without disturbing my husband.
When the Lord wakes me early in the morning, it’s usually important and always well worth it.
As I walked down the wooden path to the beach between two houses, I got a glimpse of the sky. Amazing pinks and oranges emerged on the horizon. There was no one else on the calm and peaceful shore.
Bundling myself up in a blanket, I sat down and breathed in. A front row seat to a spectacular show! A glowing spot of neon pinkish orange appeared at the horizon. My excitement mounted as the glow became larger and larger.
Then the Lord began to speak to me. I grabbed my phone to write down what He said and alternated between taking notes and taking pictures of the beautiful changing sky.
He started with: “The Son is rising in your life. The Son is rising to meet you. It’s a new day.”
As the light rose in the sky and reflected in a line down the water and sand towards me, God said, “The sun reflects back to heaven, and it reflects forward to you at the same time. Just as the sun is rising in the sky, so is your sense of My love for you. I have new things for you every morning when you meet Me. The intensity of My light will grow in your life if you will show up for the light show. The warmth is growing the longer you stay.”
As I watched the sun rise higher in the morning sky I could feel it’s warmth throughout my body. A boat on the horizon caught my eye. As it passed by the sun, it radiated in the light.
Then the Lord said, “Just like the boat, you do not shine unless you are in My Presence. There is no beauty in you by yourself unless you are reflecting Me. The reflection of My warmth and beauty makes you beautiful.”
As I sat there, the warmth stretched further toward me, and the light and heat became stronger. At this point I REALLY couldn’t look directly at the sun. I had a sense that just like the rising of the sun peaks at a certain point during the day and then starts to go down, and the waves come in and then go back out, so our lives are like that. God’s presence is always around us, but we feel it more at certain times.
Sunrise and sunset are like a picture of our life in Christ. Does my life with the Lord feel like dusk and sunset more often than not? Is it because I’ve missed too many warm sunrises? Because when we don’t get up, we don’t put ourselves in a place to see…to see the new thing…to experience the new light show each morning. Unique and beautiful. New every day.
I’m motivated more than ever to meet with the Lord… every day. When my quiet times became more personal and conversational and less out of duty, it became easier to get up and anticipate time with the Lord.
Later that day, I happened to read the Jesus Calling devotional excerpt for that day.
“Meet me in the morning stillness, while the earth is fresh with the dew of my Presence.”
Finding time to be with the Lord in the morning has always been a struggle for me. However, getting up earlier has definitely become easier as I look forward to exciting and life-giving conversations with Him. I am never disappointed that I turned off a movie, logged off the computer, or closed a book the night before in exchange for Words of Truth the next morning.
Thankful for the Sonlight,