late nights ... part two
A comment left by Pam D. today brought another memory to the surface. She said, There's something wondrous about praying in the middle of the night ... a feeling that only you and God are awake and He is wanting to pour His heart into someone's sleeping spirit as you take His hands to pray for them.
Several years ago, when I felt that familiar nudge and rose to meet with God, I had a strong impression to repeat a favorite scripture: When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. --Isaiah 59:19 (NKJV)
I didn't know why I felt such an urgency to speak that verse, but I said it anyway. And then I said it again ... and again. For an entire hour, my mind was completely trained on that one truth from Scripture, and all I could do was sit in the stillness of my living room and repeat the words over and over. I have never before or since felt a leading to pray that way, but it was clear on that night that God would have me do nothing else.
It was 3:30 when I stopped. Though I felt completely energized, as if I'd just taken the most wonderful nap and was ready to face my day, I also felt so at peace that I knew I'd fall asleep as soon as I sank down into my pillow ... and I did.
The next day, a friend called me. As our conversation progressed, she kept yawning into the phone.
"Tired?" I asked, laughing.
"I am," she said. "I haven't been sleeping well. I keep waking up in the middle of the night."
"Me, too," I said. "In fact, I was up last night."
"I was, too," my friend said.
I then explained what had happened the night before. "It was the strangest thing, but I felt completely riveted, completely focused on repeating those words: When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard agains him."
I heard a long pause on the other end. And then she asked, "Exactly what time were you up?"
"From 2:30 to 3:30."
The pause lengthened, and when my friend spoke again, I heard tears in her voice. "God had you up praying for me." She had awakened at 2:00 with a heart so heavy, it drove her to the bathroom floor, where she lay sobbing and trying to pray. She didn't share the exact nature of her grief. She simply said that life felt too hard; hope seemed too distant. She felt utterly overwhelmed, she said, by a flood of worry, fear and despair. Until suddenly, at 3:30, the darkness fled, the heaviness lifted and she felt awash in peace. And at the same moment that I rose from my couch and returned to my pillow, my friend rose from the floor and returned to hers.
I am often completely taken aback by the knowledge that the God who dreamed up gravity and love, who thought to put spots on a giraffe and devotion in the heart of a puppy, who named and then scattered the stars in the sky, would watch me sleep ... and wake me to meet Him ... and invite me to put my two hands next to His on the plow.
What kind of God is this?