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{ Oh, He Will. Oh, He Will. }

There's something dismissive about an alarm.

And something irresistible when it's God.

I woke up this morning at 4:59 a.m. My alarm was set for 5 a.m. I had to smile. Had my alarm gone through with its work, I might have been tempted to kick it off. Ugh, 5 a.m. is early. The night wasn't nearly long enough. I'm. Not. Moving. From. This. Spot.

But when the alarm failed to sing me awake, and instead I woke "on my own" and sensed nothing but God calling my name. A mom-version of the child Samuel, hearing the voice of God calling. Immediately my eyes pulled open. The shutters flung wide. I'm here! I'm awake! I'm up!

Within five minutes I was standing and waiting for coffee, a lit candle in my hand, ready to carry and cup up whatever God had waiting for me. I was rushed. I was feeling it in my spirit, as though if I didn't hurry, He would move on. Go wake up another daughter in another house who was ready for His words. I wanted it to be me. Desperately. I'm here, I'm awake, I'm up.

I hustle my coffee and the Yankee Candle into the living room.

In the handful of minutes it had taken me to hop out of bed, gather my phone and the baby monitors and pop in my contacts, the words to two very different songs were running through my mind. Pry open the right eye and slip the contact in: "Your presence is Heaven... oh to be with You." (ref: Bethel). My heart pounded. It was like I was rushing to get ready for a first date. The anticipatory butterflies. Blink, blink. Ready the other eye. "My God's not dead, He's surely alive!" (ref: Newsboys).

This is why I was jittery before the coffee ever hit my bloodstream. My very living, very powerful, very loving God? Completely alive, completely available and I could't move fast enough to spend time with Him. Rush hour traffic, an ill-timed train, come on. My wonderful date that I can't believe wants to meet with me? He's waiting. Get out of my way, all of you. Just let me get there on time.

I snuggle into the couch and pause. Pray something completely ineloquent and hurried. Nerves, almost. Here I am, here I am. I made it. I don't know where to start. Is it a worship-music in the background kind of meeting? Do I just journal? Flip the Bible open? Read something out of somewhere?

I open up a book I haven't read for awhile. I told myself, "If nothing grabs me right away, I'll stop and move on." I turn open to the bent corner of page 105. "Worship in the Wilderness" is the headline I had left off on. Well, what do you know. Let's just read about God's presence, shall we? I smiled. Ignored the coffee.

The phenomenon of God making an appearance is called "theophany". I felt like Beth Moore as I Googled for a deeper understanding, for the Greek. Theophany (pronounced the-oph-a-ny). "Theos" (God) and "Phainein" (to show). I write it in caps in my journal. How great is that? It is a complete wonder and I am wonderfully breathless as I spoon it out to my starving heart. God showing Himself to me - to anyone - is a deeply profound thing.

And I underline these words, block off the entire paragraph: "The purpose of the Israelites' deliverance was not simply their emancipation from slavery; it was to lead them into deeper worship of the Lord." The deserts, the swallows of dust - it's such a desolate place that we learn our supreme need for Him. For Him to show Himself to us. And when we know what our freedom, what the chasing, the redeeming, the restoration cost? It drives our worship.

I'm a worship kind of girl. I love all the songs, download all the tunes, follow all the worship leaders. I pin the quotes and routinely update my playlist. Heck, I even spend a handful of hours every week working at my church, supporting the Worship Arts ministry with some admin tasking and doing my best to shoulder some ministry burden for our Worship Arts Pastor. I love it. Love it all.

But worship is more than a song. More than a set of riffs. More than a heart-stopping bridge.

Worship is a lifestyle and worship is a sacrifice and worship is a busted jar at the feet of Jesus. And what a beautiful place to be in. The desert and the worshiper and the presence of God. My worship doesn't end when the doors close on Sunday. It doesn't begin when I step on stage at 8:25 a.m. every Sunday, either. It has to be consistently more than that, or what I do on Sunday, with my hands around a microphone or settled on keys, is just a waste of time.

Same for early mornings waiting for God to show up (or is He waiting for me to show up?) If I don't spend time with Him, how will I learn to desire Him? To miss Him when I'm in those desert spaces and feeling so spun-crooked and lost my way?

We always look for what we can gather. Hold.

If I'm not looking for Him, what else am I holding?

It is true that we are far too easily satisfied (C.S. Lewis). It's easy to go through the steps, to find comfort in routine and schedules and another same ol' same ol'. I even wrote that as a gratitude this morning. Thankful for a regular, plain Jane, Monday morning. And that's okay. It's okay to be thankful for our simple routine and a quiet day. But I can't stay there. I can't just hold onto my planner and my lists and say, "Okay, I'm good. It is well with my soul." I could.

But I was made for something more. I crave something stronger.

And we can try to numb it, out race it, ignore it, busy it... but the truth is we were made for more and our dreams matter and our moments cost and when we stop to think about the weight of glory... about the gift given to us, the gift we were created to be... it leaves you with a little smile at the corner of your mouth. A little breathless.

Because when God shows up, like a Father reaching out to His child who is lost - spinning this way and that, looking for a face she recognizes in the crowd - when He shows up, reaches out, hands us a burden, or a task, or a family, or a hurt - He never stops showing up. We can feel isolated and dumbly on our own, but while we whip our head from the right and to the left, looking to be saved, when our wild hearts can calm down - we find that in all the busy gathering and searching, He's still there. Still loving. Still profoundly being found by our starving hearts.

Like Ruth, we can strivingly glean the leftovers and survive... or we can sit at the feet of love and live every dream like we knew we always wanted.

"So much!" Naomi exclaimed.
"Where in the world did you
glean today?
Praise the Lord for whoever
was so kind to you."
So Ruth told her mother-in-law all about it."
~  R u t h  2 : 1 9 

"I have loved you with an 
everlasting love;
I have drawn you 
with unfailing kindness."
~  J e r e m i a h   3 1 : 3 


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