A God Moment
Updated: Jul 17, 2020
Yesterday I had one of those moments. I had just come in from a long morning walk on a perfect day. My wife Valerie was doing something in another part of the house so I sat on my couch preparing to listen and read the devotional from the online site I visit every day. But as I just sat being quiet in preparation, I found myself longing for something.
What I became aware of that perfect morning was that I wanted to sit on my balcony this morning overlooking the ocean and enjoy the moment. I particularly wanted to spend the time with my older brother who lives hundreds of miles east across the Rocky Mountains. He is much older and I hardly knew him as a boy, but as I have become an adult, he and I have found a deep common friendship along with a deep shared faith which we love to discuss. But he and my sister-in-law simply are not in good enough health to make the trip, and so in spite of my wishing it to be so, I know it is not possible.
I sat with this loss, feeling the longing and knowing that the wonderful conversations he and I would have on such a morning, coffee in hand, basking in the sunlight and fresh breeze, would not happen. I sat for a bit, feeling sad and aware of the silence in the house.
Then I took my cellphone, connected my earphones and started listening to my favourite online devotional site. That's when I became aware yet again that the One who looks after His children, is always present, always understanding, always caring.
A female voice read the devotion written by a young woman. Her brief talk was based on Ecclesiastes chapter 3. The writer, Poh Fang Chia, a contributor to the daily inspirational site, Our Daily Bread (www.odb.org) wrote these words which I heard read by the narrator:
"Su Dongpo (also known as Su Shi) was one of China’s greatest poets and essayists. While in exile and gazing upon a full moon, he wrote a poem to describe how much he missed his brother. “We rejoice and grieve, gather and leave, while the moon waxes and wanes. Since times of old, nothing remains perfect,” he writes. “May our loved ones live long, beholding this beautiful scene together though thousands of miles apart.”
You can imagine how hearing these words nearly took my breath away.She continued:
"His poem carries themes found in the book of Ecclesiastes. The author, known as the Teacher (1:1), observed that there’s “a time to weep and a time to laugh . . . a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing” (3:4–5). By pairing two contrasting activities, the Teacher, like Su Dongpo, seems to suggest that all good things must inevitably come to an end."
God spoke to me yesterday. I knew the situation would not change and that I would continue to grieve what I anticipate losing. But I also know that my brother and I are in God's hands and that along with the rest of my loved ones, we can feel our losses but still say with Horatio Spafford, "it is well with my soul."
God heard the longing of my heart and replied through the words of others. As you read this you may think of it as an interesting coincidence, something interesting but hardly that unusual. But I knew in that moment it was more. When we live in and by faith it is an ongoing fact that God talks to us in the method and manner we need in the moment.
I have spoken to many over the years and have written of others' experiences as well as my own. These occasions are both astounding and deeply familiar.
I did not get to sit and visit with my brother, but I received a message from the One who is closer than a brother and holds us and our times and seasons, our joys and sorrows, our hopes and longings in the palm of His hand.