I’ve banned my wife from making oatmeal cookies at home.
Because they are so good, I eat them until I look like a preacher/sumo wrestler, a sumo-preacher.
One night, not long before bedtime I got nostalgic for her cookies and I asked her to make a small batch. Voilà, a little while later 15 warm cookies appeared in the kitchen.
She forgot to watch me, though, and 45 minutes later all of them had evaporated. Or at least they disappeared somehow.
A few ticks of the clocks later, I found myself in bed unable to slee, a sugar high racing through my bloodstream.
“Why?” I asked myself.
Actually, I knew why. Oatmeal cookies are too good. They’re all linked together. If you eat one cookie, the others follow automatically.
That’s why my wife doesn’t bake oatmeal cookies for me. I have a stash that I buy at the supermarket and they are pretty good but not irresistible. I can limit myself to two … or three … or four.
Don’t you wish you could be as hungry for God and His presence as you are for cookies, cake, candy and Big Macs?
I thought about that recently. I’m no mystic. Some people seem to have revelations for breakfast, visions for lunch and great things for dinner (or supper).
But, God has spoken to me powerfully a few times in my life—giving direction for our lives, promising to take care of my kids, challenging me to completely obey Him and not back away.
Lately, though, I’ve thought, “Lord, I love those moments when you show up like that. I feel Your presence but it’s been a long time since you showed up in that special way, a long time since you’ve touched me like that.
As I reflected, though, I realized that when God had spoken in that special way, it has been at key turning points of my life or at times when I was especially afraid.
In the Bible, when old-man Jacob packed up the family and headed down to Egypt he must have wondered if he was doing the right thing. That’s when God showed up in that special way.
“And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, ‘Jacob! Jacob!’
“’Here I am,’ he replied.
“’I am God, the God of your father,’ he said. ‘Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.” (Genesis 46: 2, 3, NIV)
Gen. 46:L2 Dieu parla à Israël dans une vision pendant la nuit, et il dit: Jacob! Jacob! Israël répondit: Me voici!
3 Et Dieu dit: Je suis le Dieu, le Dieu de ton père. Ne crains point de descendre en Égypte, car là je te ferai devenir une grande nation.
4 Moi-même je descendrai avec toi en Égypte, et moi-même je t’en ferai remonter; et Joseph te fermera les yeux.
Over 1,500 years later, God promised a church going through a fiery trial that He would give them “hidden manna” if they stayed true (Rev. 2:17). Manna was bread from heaven that Israel ate in the desert but Jesus said that He was the real bread from heaven.
So, this “pushed-to-the-wall” Church received an unexpected blessing—an intimacy with the Lord they hadn’t experienced before.
And you there, staring at your IPhone, wondering what’s going on in your life–hurting from the latest wallop on your sensitive little head, wondering which direction you should choose, sensitive from losing that one who meant so much …
That hurt tearing at your innards might make you even more sensitive to God speaking to you.
One of the hardest things I’ve ever done is watch my kids leave home. Every parent hurts at this time in life (well, some of them are happy). But, ours weren’t going just down the road. We lived in Luxembourg at the time and they were coming back to the States.
When they left home, there was a gaping hole in my heart. It’s funny, though, hurts and gaping holes draw the presence of the Lord Jesus like a magnet attracts metal.
One day during that time, I was teaching a class in Bible school, when we came to this verse: “ The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
(Zephaniah 3:17, New International Version (NIV)
Sophonie 3:17Louis Segond (LSG)
17 L’Éternel, ton Dieu, est au milieu de toi, comme un héros qui sauve; Il fera de toi sa plus grande joie; Il gardera le silence dans son amour; Il aura pour toi des transports d’allégresse.
And suddenly I understood! My heart was sensitive because of my pain and I was able to feel how much God loved me. My loss exposed my love for my kids. But, that hurt tenderized my heart so that God could speak to me.
I knew I loved my kids. I felt how much. But, when I realized how much bigger God’s capacity for love is than mine, that revelation overwhelmed me. I feasted on that closeness for months.
If you’re hurting, I don’t minimize that at all. Just maybe, though, your sensitivity will open you to God’s revelation in your life. Why don’t you turn to Him and see? Just talk to Him, like you and I are talking now–heart to heart. No fancy words. Tell Him, then listen.
Jesus felt every pain we’ll ever experience when He was on the Cross. He knows how to comfort you. His love and the intimacy of His presence heals and redeems my pain.
And it’s a lot better for your health than fifteen oatmeal cookies.
Have you ever had an experience like that which sensitized your heart so that God could speak to you? Share it (don’t be too long) and I’ll share it with others who read Coffee Stains.
Where there is no presence there is no revelation, where there is but a small measure of His presence there is rarity of revelation, and where there is a strong presence there is great revelation! John Bevere
Images: unsplash,rebecca johnston; Flickr, Creative Commons, Brian Richardson chocolate chip cookies