When God Enters The Stage

Monday, March 18, 2019
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O How I Love Jesus"1 (Lyrics)

As a visitor at a church service some years ago, I watched as the reader marched up to the platform with an air of confidence to read an Isaiah portion from the large pulpit Bible. It had been placed on the lectern moments earlier in a triumphal opening procession called "The Entrance of the Word". She announced the text to the congregation and then searched for the page. She couldn't find it. Frantically, she flipped back and forth through the large pages. Finally, she gave up.

Then, in a confused daze, she turned from the lectern and paced back and forth across the platform. As I watched this impromptu drama unfold, I wondered how Isaiah, one of the biggest books, could be so hard to find. Mercifully, the organist handed her a Bible opened to the passage. She read:

Isaiah 59:10 – Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. At midday we stumble as if it were twilight; among the strong, we are like the dead. (NIV)

I was astonished. I had just witnessed an unscripted visual aid for God's Word that morning. In a convicting sermon, the preacher remarked how they had lost their way and needed revival. His words felt like an arrow riveting me against the pew. Yet, when I looked around, I saw no sign of engagement, as if the people hadn't heard anything. Afterwards, it was the usual chit-chat. I left that elegantly upgraded facility finding myself empathizing with God's burden for a people who had silently resisted, as if saying:

Isaiah 30:11 – Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel! (NIV)

I never forgot that experience. It wasn't the dryness that primarily struck me; it was the relentless passion of God who works in such dry places:

Isaiah 65:2 – All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations. (NIV)

That day, God had tried to grab the attention of a small congregation, even staging a visual aid. I'm convinced that God often stages impromptu visual aids through the ordinary course of life, trying to get people's attention and hear Him say:

Isaiah 30:21 – Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." (NIV)

How have you witnessed evidence of this promise in your own experience with spiritual decline — either personally or corporately? How have you heard God calling out in unexpected places, as "a voice from behind"? That's just what our God would do — the God who never relents in His passion to redeem the lost and draw His own to Himself. It's His covenant promise:

Isaiah 43:19a – See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. (NIV)

Isaiah 29:24 – Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding; those who complain will accept instruction. (NIV)

Prayer: Lord, sensitize us to Your cry in the wasteland of our lives. Train us to turn our heads and listen for Your voice coming from behind, that we may gain understanding and walk in Your ways. Amen.

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About the author:

Diane Eaton <d.eaton@bmts.com>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    May it be so, Diane.

    Well said, Diane. Thank you.

    Thank you, Diane, for sharing this convicting devotional with us. Blessings.

    Once again Diane Eaton I hear the voice of God’s Holy Spirit in your writing and quoted scriptures. Thank you!

    Oh yes! Story of my life. Like I have often said: you can’t fill an empty jar if it has the lid on it. How do we “get the lid” off?

    Wow! The wasteland of the earth. Let’s love the Muslims the world. Everyone. Let’s return to the Lord. Bring your family and friends.

    Hi Diane,
    You write the nicest devotionals! I really enjoyed todays. You gave us a lot to think about, meditate, on and ponder. Thank you.

    Thanks, Diane, for the powerful devotional sent to us today! It is very moving. May the people who have read it, not respond as that small congregation did. Holy Spirit, move hearts!

    Diane, what an incredible experience that marked your understanding of God’s ability to change a plan on a dime, giving illustration to His purpose. Thank you for the scriptural support to your devotion as you smoothly work pieced it together. What a blessing.

    What powerful truth your Devotion speaks. I believe God does speak to everyone daily, but sadly so many find distractions more engaging.
    Praying more will come to say; Speak Dear LORD, Your servant is listening.

    Hello Diane,
    Thank you for another special devotional. We must be ever mindful to not only hear God’s word but to listen carefully and obey His word.
    Blessings for your writings,

    Right on the mark today for me, Diane! What a heartwarming account of how God offers each of us a way out, of the hope of our life as a Christian, and the joy of our finding the path again! Every word of your devotional, especially your beautifully-worded, inspired prayer, sang to my soul!

    Dear Diane
    What a message! Unfortunately, very current. I have witnessed and sadly often have been a participant in a similar situation. We must keep trying and thank goodness for Jesus who forgives our transgressions.

    Good morning Diane
    Thanks for this devotional. It lines up a lot with what the Pastor was talking about here in the Azores. Isaiah 43:19a lines up with a song I am planning on singing in church one of these Sundays…God Will Make A Way. Amazing!!
    How special it is when we can hear our Heavenly Father prompting us and guiding us.
    God bless and thank you again for this devotional. I have been in church like the one you mentioned!!!

    I am where you are. People attending church because it is a social function and habit. It used to get me angry, but now I ignore them and their chit-chat and it is just God and me when I am in His presence.
    In my Father’s house, there are many mansions. In some of those mansions, there is just a single soul enraptured by their God.
    God love you and keep on pitching!

    Hi Diane:
    Your words hit me like a ton of bricks just now! I also think they were an answer to all-night prayer. My church is going through struggles and I left my Bible Study Group last night feeling so lost and low. Ashes in my mouth could not have felt worse. The joy has gone out of so many people and it breaks my heart. I can only imagine how God feels.
    Thank you, Diane, again.
    God bless you and please keep writing.

    We don’t deserve it, but God never gives up on us. Thanks for these words, Diane.

    Dear Diane Eaton,
    Thank you for a precious devotional.
    You have met a serious concern with very appropriate words from God’s word.

    Usually the person who places the Bible on the lectern inserts a ribbon marker or leaves it open to the passage to be read.
    The reader is never expected to search for the passage.
    Interesting that on this occasion that did not happen.

    Hi Diane,
    I can’t help but wonder if it wasn’t an accident that the reader couldn’t find the scripture.
    You state that you witnessed an unscripted visual aid for the scripture, but maybe it wasn’t unscripted. It sounds as though that is exactly what was supposed to happen in order for people to understand the scripture.

    Thank you, Diane, for your devotion. I pray that in our churches we will really be able to hear God’s word and as it penetrates us, may it move and stir us out of our sleep. It feels like we are sleep walking and going through the motions of church. I heard a minister a few weeks back and as he preached God’s word, I too saw no one really listening. God has created in me a spirit of restlessness ever since I woke up myself. I thirst to have people in church talk about God, Jesus after church and share. I realize if it is going to happen, I need to be the one to start the conversation of what Jesus means to me and what my faith means.
    I loved the devotion and the visual of the person coming in and not being able to find Isaiah.

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