Most fathers read stories to their children just before bed.
But--perhaps because last night was New Year's Eve and I didn't get home until quite late--my Heavenly Father chose to wake me up with a story this morning instead.
I was sleeping quite soundly--having snuggled myself back into bed after my early morning walk with Macy--when, all of a sudden, God woke me.
He knows I'm a sound sleeper, and so I guess He knew that the only way to stir me would be to do something quite loud.
He also knows that I'm prone to rolling back over, so He did something deliberate that would catch and keep my attention, despite my grogginess.
And so, to do this, He literally threw a Bible. Can you believe it?
I woke up to a very loud "Thud!" sound. I jumped out of bed instantly, worrying that perhaps Macy had inadvertently crashed into something or that perhaps one of my doves had escaped.
But Macy was sound asleep on her blanket and the doves were snuggled together, gently looking out the window at the snow.
Then I noticed what He was calling me to do. There, right at the entrance to my Prayer Room, He had tossed the Bible.
If it weren't for His Heavenly Hand, one might have thought that the book itself had (1) jumped out of the wooden display stand it was on and then (2) off the bookcase top on which it sat to (3) finally spread itself open now at my feet.
Of course, I knew He must have opened the book to a specific page, and so I took great care to lift the book while keeping that page open for myself to read.
I laid beside Macy as I began to read the story of the life of King Hezekiah of Judah, which began on the two open pages and then concluded on a subsequent third.
On that third page, near the end of the story, the Lord gave the same advice to the king as He has given me.
It was phrased differently than my other encounters, but it was still the message to do nothing in the first two years and then to sow and reap in the third.
Here is what the Scripture says the prophet Isaiah said to the king in the Book of Second Kings, Chapter 19, Verses 29 to 31:
"Here is a sign of what will happen.
This [first] year and next,
You will have only wild grain to eat.
But the following year [Year #3],
You will be able to plant your grain
And harvest it,
And plant vines and eat grapes.
Those in Judah who survive will flourish
Like plants that send roots
Deep into the ground
And produce fruit.
[You] will survive
Because the Lord is determined
To make this happen."
I could not believe it! How incredible that God should still be giving me this same message. It is as if God wants me plant more than I already am. I wonder what more He's asking me to invest in? How is He asking me to grow more, I wonder?
This is the first time I received my message in the context of a story. Or, perhaps it was the first time that I actually took the time to read more than the just the first few lines my eyes encountered. And I certainly wouldn't have read so much if God hadn't been so deliberate in making me have to pick up my Bible.
The king was never abandoned by God and clung to Him in hard times. And when his life was ending, the king begged that God might make him enjoy life a bit longer -- and this God granted to King Hezekiah with 15 years of more life and abundance!
Please pray for me that I may plant and invest more in whatever it is God is asking me to! Help me to know what you are calling me to, Jesus!