There’s been a few times in my life I’ve been able to get a little taste of what heaven is probably like. When I was in 9th grade my best friend and I spent a night talking about God and praying. It probably wasn’t typical behavior for a couple of High School Freshman girls, but we were hungry to know God more and He was very willing to fill us. We stayed up most of the night laughing and then crying and talking about how cool God was and how much we wanted to know Him.
My second year of college a couple of friends and I ended up talking about God. Late in the night we started praying for each other and crying. It was just an impromptu prayer meeting in a College campus house that ended up with us “spreading the joy” to others on our floor. We were amazed at how real God was and how close He felt.
Early in our lives as young parents, my husband and I were discussing God and suddenly began to feel His touch. What was a simple car ride from one side of town to the other ended up with the very real presence of God with us. Tears, laughter, and a trip to his brother’s house for a time of prayer there.
I’ve seen it happen more than once. Not necessarily something experienced in a church building with the right people at the right time. Although He’s met me there too . Just someone hungry for more of God experiencing Him in a new way.
Acts 16 shares a story of an experience just like that. What started out as persecution of Paul and Silas for freeing a slave girl from tormenting demons turned into a prayer meeting that started at midnight and went until the sun came up. It started in a jail cell bound in stocks. Songs of worship for a God who has all things in His hands. It went to a jailer frightened by a supernatural earthquake wanting to know the God these men had been singing about. Then on to the jailers house for all night long discussions about God and His word. Baptisms in the middle of the night. A meal prepared and served and joy filling the house. Not an ordinary church service, not a bunch of holy people: prisoners, jailers, a common household, and a couple of men who had an encounter with Jesus- full of the Holy Spirit, and they were ready to share. All before the sunrise on what seemed to the rest of the world to be just another ordinary night.
Me in my middle aged state values my head hitting the pillow before 10pm. An all night prayer meeting seems like it could be a daunting task. Until I remembered, There’s nothing like the times I’ve spent in the past when God for some reason chose to let me experience His presence and reality those years ago.
I think God allows us to experience times like those as anchors. It locks us in securely in just how real He is. Paul experienced the reality of the presence of God in times like that night at the Jail/ Jailers house. The testimony I’m sure sustained him, Silas, the Jailer and his family for the years to come.
The times I’ve seen the hand of God move in my life have done the same. When my focus has been off and I’ve “forgotten” God reminds me of those times.
The times He’s allowed me to feel the reality of His closeness, the power of His presence, and the personal touch of His hand, those are the things that create a hunger for more. May I be willing to be inconvenienced by the place God chooses to show up, the time He appears, and the way He brings it about. God’s ways of showing Himself to us are not always our convenient, preconceived ways. They may involve a midnight revival with some ordinary people that just want to know “what must we do to be saved?” Or “what must I do to know you? Because what little taste I have had of You God is not enough. I want more.”
Bring on the Midnight Revival in my crazy world that makes little sense at times. When You step in, God, a prison becomes a pathway to freedom. Shackles become instruments of worship, and in the darkness and pain of a trial filled night a table for a feast is set before me.