Early last week I had asked God to help remind me of my renewed resolve (wow that's a lot of "R's") to set aside specific time to spend with Him and reading his word. Twice this week I woke up at 2am, unable to sleep, feeling slightly anxious and unsettled. I did something I've never done before...I got up, grabbed my Bible, devotional book, "prayer box" and headed out to the kitchen table to spend some time with God.
The first night it was one of those "ok, I'm up anyway and I don't want to keep Aaron awake" kind of moments. I ended up spending almost 2 hours reading and talking to God. The amazing part was that I really didn't feel missing those 2 hours of sleep the next morning. I am one of those need-8-hours-of-sleep-to-function kind of people...usually if I get less than 7 hours a night I turn into a whiny mess (just ask my husband). However, that next morning I woke up refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Interesting tact there God...
The second night, I had once again forgotten to set aside the time in a busy day to spend with God and once again, I was kept awake at around 2am...this time I almost had to laugh - God was answering my prayer to make sure I spend time with Him - how cool is that?! I gamely headed out to the kitchen table and cracked open my devotional book.
That night's chapter was on the story of Mary washing Jesus' feet with perfume (John 12:3), the focus was on extravagant love. Extravagant love is the kind of love that disregards everything else so it can focus on one thing alone...the object of that love. It is sacrificial. This is the kind of love Mary displayed when she gave literally all she had in the form of an extremely expensive alabaster jar of the perfume to wash Jesus' feet as an act of love and worship.
Extravagant love cannot be faked. Matthew says it best in chapter 12 - "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." In Mary's case, she did even more - she acted on the overflow of her heart. There were people present, even Jesus' own disciples, who judged her for such an extravagant act of worship. They protested that the perfume should have been sold and the money given to the poor instead of "wasted". Jesus told them to leave her alone. It was Mary's act of worship and He accepted her.
Jesus has given us the ultimate example of extravagant love. He laid down his life for us. That act cost Him everything, and yet He gave. He did so out of the same kind of extravagant, life-changing love He expects from us.
On the heels of that powerful reading, I dug into Psalm 63...which hit me between the eyes in a few ways! I love when God's Word does that - really, truly God speaking to me right there in my life, in any situation.
A few verses jumped out at me and were more than slightly ironic considering I was reading the Bible at about 3am!
v. 1 - O God, You are my God; early I will seek You. My soul longs for you.
v. 6-8 - When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches - because You have been my help. Therefore, in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.
Heck yeah Amen!
I haven't forgotten to spend time with God daily since that last 3am encounter and He is still continuing to speak to me through His word. I am almost done with this devotional book and am on the hunt for a new one to start tomorrow - if anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!