This post is being written in the very wee hours of morning, to the tick tock, tick tock of the clock and the steady hum of the house’s appliances. Occasionally, my dog, Joy, whines a bit as she stares quizzically at me, trying to understand why I’m up at this strange hour. Every keyboard tap seems to shout into the stillness of would-be slumber.
Why am I awake?
I have asked myself that question on a multitude of never ending evenings as of late, and now I know why. Oh, I’ve known all along on a level much deeper than I cared to go, but at last, I have surrendered my stubborn streak. I’ve chosen obedience to the tender, yet persistent tug of the Holy Spirit. He has been speaking and I have been listening, but I have not been responsive. So here I am, at 2:31a.m., succumbing to His sweet whisper, and already finding rest in doing so.
Obedience is a fine weapon against restlessness.
When the Lord speaks to me, I have to write. If I don’t, my own spirit wrestles relaxation until I do. He has been speaking, but I’ve been dancing with every distraction that the enemy has placed before me. Thus, here I am, at an hour with little potential for interference, clicking keys in competition with the clock’s steady measure of moments.
What is it that the Lord has been so insistent that I receive, you’re wondering? It’s beauty. He has been prodding and pulling at my narrowed spiritual eyelids, attempting to broaden my field of vision, in order to fulfill a promise that He made me some time ago.
Yes, He will go to any length to fulfill His promises. He must, because fulfilling promises is His very nature.
When I fell hard for my God and embraced His Holy Spirit and all His glorious attributes, He began to show me beauty in this world. I could gaze out into green Springtime foliage and receive such revelation of His splendor! I could walk through the woods, and as I listened, the wind through the tree tops was transformed into harmonious chords of loveliness, the likes of which could only compare to a host of worshipping angels. When I fell hard for my God, He opened my eyes to see beauty…beauty to which the enemy had successfully blinded me for years. Yes, the grass was greener, the sky was bluer, and the sun glowed more gloriously with each passing day.
Heaven CAN be tasted here on this earth.
Then one day, I prayed a prayer. I asked the Lord to give me His eyes for people. I wanted to see people the way He sees them. Deeply drained from a lifetime of mistrust and suspicion, I longed to look into another pair of eyes and see something beautiful. Knowing that He loves us all (“For God so loved the world…”) I wanted to operate from that same love. Maybe, just maybe, I needed to love like that in order to more fully understand how He could love me.
I prayed that prayer, and He answered. At first, I began noticing people. People who would simply pass through my field of vision before, began to stand out. I found myself becoming involved in conversations that I might have avoided in the past. I grew bolder with sharing my faith and my testimony.
Do you see what He was doing? He was getting me involved with people. He didn’t just drop an instantaneous unconditional super-love for others into my spirit. Maybe I expected that, but He chose, instead, to involve me in a process. I found myself drawn to personalities whom I most definitely would have avoided in the past. If someone rubbed me the wrong way, I began to consciously seek out their positive qualities. I was seeing individuals now, not just people, and He was showing them to me in ways that I’d never seen them, without judgement.
I was learning to love in a brand new way, beholding newfound beauty.
As my God opened my eyes to the beauty of mankind, He truly blessed me with the most beautiful man. I can look into the eyes of my husband, my precious God-given gift, and dive into those pools of unconditional love. He has taught, and is still teaching me, so much about His regard for me through the measureless love of and for my Jim.
So what, exactly, has been keeping me awake? What message is wrestling itself from the realms of my experience, desiring to give testimony of God’s miraculous transforming power?
I’ve been so unsettled lately. I’ve been searching for beauty in all the places I’ve found it in the past. I still take the walks, I see the sunrises and sunsets. I can’t deny the beauty there, but my uttermost knows there’s more.
We cannot limit God to our past experiences with Him.
Several nights ago, I caught a glimpse of the most glorious beauty I’ve ever seen. It was not in the coral and turquoise of a summer-time sunset. It was not in the dew-kissed glow of a morning glory twining alongside a cobblestone path. It was not in the bright blue and white of a Blue Jay’s wings, taking flight into the joy of afternoon. It was not in the graceful transformation from caterpillar to masterpiece.
Where was this newfound vision of loveliness?
It was in the eyes of a drug addict. It was in the eyes of someone who had chosen self-medication over the healing power of Jesus. It was in the eyes of someone who would go to great lengths to have what made the flesh feel anything other than pain. It was in the eyes of someone who held tightly to labels like addict and bipolar, because those labels offered explanation and excuse.
What could possibly have been beautiful in those eyes?
I saw hope there. It was in the recesses, but it was there, and it was dazzling in its brightness! I stared into those eyes, and I was blessed to offer some testimony of God’s love and grace. I saw that hope stir and the brightness grew. I heard the hope expressed in acceptance of Savior, and the hope flashed brilliantly. Flesh fought to suppress it, and the enemy’s darkness attempted to swallow it up, but it remained.
Do you long for beauty? Are you searching all the old places where you found it long ago? Are you looking for it in those secret meeting places where you used to meet God, just you and Him? Could it be that He wants to meet you out in the open, amongst the people…IN the people?
Get ready: Revival is coming, and it’s a revival of love…God’s love for us being expressed through us.
Pray that prayer, I dare you. Ask the Lover of your soul to let you see people the way He does, then brace yourself for something beyond beautiful!
Goodnight now, and sweet dreams.