Saturday night. It’s late. I haven’t prepared the lesson for tomorrow’s class with the youth group. It’s late. I told God I would wake up early and prep the lesson with my bleary, 6:30 a.m. mind. It’s 12:45 now. I can’t sleep. I groan, get up, and pace the kitchen, praying and smiling at the God who is determined to have His precious, perfect way.
We are working through Francis Chan’s Crazy Love as a group. The first chapter is called “Stop Praying”, because, well, when was the last time you thought about the person you were talking to before you showered Him with God-will-you-please and God-will-you-be-with-so-and-so? Too often we rush into holiness and forget with whom we speak.
Francis Chan asks, “Imagine you saw God. What would be the first words out of your mouth?”
And I pause, and words come flooding to my mind and mouth-
-Forgive me. Forgive me for being haste with meaningless words and for forgetting that You, O Lord, are the great King and Creator.- My dear Father, yes, but my great God, too.
I am convicted and I read a bit longer. The lesson includes reading the fourth chapter of Revelation. It stays in my head– I’m supposed to read it aloud. The throne room scene and all. I speak it that night, and the next morning.
The girls and I talk about holiness and approaching God. Mortal tries to capture the immortal in words and in an hour-long chat. It can’t be done.
So I read Revelation four, aloud, and slow. We take in the throne room, the living creatures, the praises they declare.
And at the end, I’m scrambling for words. “Anyone want to pray?” I say, obviously forgetting the topic of our lesson.
No; no one volunteers. And I don’t either. In awe of the Lord, we break and go to worship.
His glory is so great I can’t sing the songs. They all seem so…insufficient. Being in His presence, what am I to say to him? I am silent. Holy God of Holy God, how could I have been so flippant in His presence before? In my self-centered pleas for direction, peace, a husband— how could I forget to whom I was speaking?
He is magnificent. Mark it well.
In awe of Him, I am silent.
A pastor steps onto the stage to read scripture. His selection- Revelation four. The girls and I look in wonder at each other- “Can you believe it?” “Déjà vu!” We hear the words proclaimed over us again, words of wonder, words that put us to silence. I kneel.
The Lord, for whatever reason, ordained that we should hear that passage twice.
And I will not try here to express his worth—words at this point seem to profane the holy.
So read it, dear one. And ponder his presence. Before you pray.