“Tomorrow, when you spot a young person, move next to them, and be friendly. Watch what I will do!’
It was a winter evening in the attic. Cold like a meat locker. Bundled up in a comforter, I watched my breath rise like steam off a city street. A candle flickered in front of me, and all was dusty still. The kids were tucked in, and nothing stretched ahead of me, no deadlines, or to do’s.
Us-together. It had become my nightly ritual. On the notepad next to me I scribbled, “watch for young people.” I sensed God had revealed something to me that would shape my next day.
The attic. Nothing special about it, except it was the place God taught me, through time and attention, how to watch and wait for His hand signals. Not suggestions, but directives! The next day, my first order of business would always be to put in motion what He had signaled me to do the night before.
In this case, my train at East New York train stop was late, but I didn’t care, He had given me a more lofty vision. And sure enough, I spotted a teenager standing all by his lonesome. With the memory of His signal the night before, and a scribbled reminder on my notepad, I walked over and stood next him. A few minutes later we walked onto the train talking about God.
Psalm 123:2, describes a scene familiar to the times it was written. “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us.” The servants watched and waited for a signal, literally watched the master’s hands! Does it seem odd that God would paint a picture for how we should seek Him, and emphasis His hand? Typically, we are asked to seek His face, because we want intimacy with Him more than what He can give us. Yet, unless we also seek His hand in prayer, love becomes a static devotion, rather than an expression of our willingness to trust. Being at the ready in the Lord’s presence eclipses the notion that all I do in prayer is talk with God. It elevates it to become the staging area for obedience.
The evening of my ‘teen spotting’ and spiritual conversation, I bounded up the stairs, and under the comforter. Joy strengthened me. What He had forecasted had come to pass. A miracle? I think so…but one that you and I can walk into as often as we stop, watch and wait for God’s signal for our obedience. In this way, the cycle of prayer, which began with a signal, was completed through a step of faith. Now, as the candle burned, and I smiled, love fueled my motivation to spend even more time with Him.
Without steps of faith in response to His overtures, prayer becomes an insular preoccupation, rather than a dynamic relational expression of our trust. More than just a friendly chat with God, prayer can be a dynamic tool to develop faith, grow joy, and deepen love between us.
What step of faith has God signaled you to trust Him in today?