They were across the Atlantic, sitting in a tiny hostel in London. A five week missionary journey had become delayed and an an eight hour layover had extended into the night and the next day. Perched on the narrow beds, Bibles open in their laps, knees nearly touching, they shared a devotion from John 13. Love. The example of Christ’s love, one of action and sacrifice, not a fleeting fuzzy feeling, should also be ours. In all things, they noted, should Christ’s love be glorified.
Grown, intelligent and wise men, they encouraged one another in the work that was before them with the simple directive of love. Then in humble prayer they asked forgiveness for unwise choices that had perhaps increased the delay and asked also that God would be glorified in spite of their failings.
“Our Father who art in heaven…” The words filled the small room of the London hostel. They filled my small room in Wisconsin also as I viewed this private devotion between my husband and son. I thanked God for the marvels of modern technology and the refreshing fellowship that had come because of it.
Before I could travel too far on the humanistic road of pride in what man had enabled for me, my thoughts were interrupted. “His songs in the night.” The phrase plastered itself in my head. While its origin escaped me, I recognized the Bible reference; Paul and Silas in prison, singing at midnight for prisoners and guards alike to hear. “Songs in the night.” A peek into the private fellowship between faith filled missionaries was not new or unique; God did not require a computer and the internet to lay this before me.
“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God.” Acts 16:25
“Jesus said unto them, Come and dine.” John 21:12.
“Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way and while he opened to us the scriptures?” Luke 24: 32.
“How can I except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come and up and sit with him.” Acts 8:31.
From prison cells and humble picnics by the sea to council chambers and kings’ courts, from a one on one with an angel to a multitude of the heavenly host before a gathering of shepherds, from a word of comfort to one weeping woman in a garden, to words of joy and peace to a crowd of disciples behind locked doors, the Lord invites us to view a myriad of private and not so private moments without the aid of technology. He invites us into the hearts of prophets and apostles. He lays before us the prayers of believers who lived and struggled to glorify God thousands of years in the past, in a place and time more remote and distant than a London hostel.
You Tube? Internet? Computer? Televison and radio? These are only capable of letting us glimpse sideways into a place we are not. It limits us to the words being spoken, to the flat and indistinct images the camera captures. It is only a small ripple on the surface. God lifts us up with Him, gives us the view from above, from outside, inside and underneath. He gives us a vantage point that no camera is capable of capturing. We witness the void of “In the beginning…” and also the ending and resplendent majesty of “the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.” The Alpha and the Omega and the in between are placed before us.
You think the internet is amazing? Open your Bible, see what God saw, hear what He heard and His reply, be privileged to connect to His throne straight from a heart of faith. Amazing. God is not limited by technology and neither are we. Glory be to God!
(The picture shows son and husband in Nepal during the trip. The other two are Rajan and Raju, sons of Pastor Bhitrakoti.)
(The title “His Songs in the Night,” is a poem by E. Margaret Clarkson)
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