“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27, NIV
Last Friday morning, my eyelids fluttered open to discover that it was still dark. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be thrilled by that observation, but I felt the Lord whispering to my heart, “Meet me for the sunrise.”
Anticipation stirred my soul, and I carefully slid from the bed to avoid waking my husband. This was the moment I’d been waiting for.
It was the last day of our family vacation in Hatteras, NC, and I had been seeking an answer for an important decision looming ahead of me in ministry. I felt fairly confident I had heard from the Lord, but I had asked Him for confirmation. I eagerly dressed to head to the beach, expecting He was about to give it.
My husband’s voice interrupted my thoughts, “Are you going out to watch the sunrise?”
“I’m going to meet with the Lord,” I answered.
“Do you mind if I join you?”
I hesitated. Truth be told, I did mind.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband. Most of the time I’d rather be with him than any other person on the face of the earth. But I wasn’t heading out to enjoy the romantic notion of the sunrise. I had an altogether different plan in mind. I needed to hear from God. And quite frankly, my husband’s presence there didn’t fit my view of what that moment was supposed to look like. I thought he’d be—well, a distraction.
So I wanted to tell him to go back to sleep. But that familiar stirring reminded me that I should put his desires ahead of my own. Instead I answered, “sure.”
He dressed quickly and we slipped together out the sliding door. Grabbing two beach chairs, we headed through the sand to the shore.
For several minutes we sat in companionable silence staring out at the sea. Both of us had brought headphones, and I decided that listening to worship might help me open my heart and clear my mind. I tried not to notice that my husband had placed his chair in a way that blocked my view of the beach. I closed my eyes so I wouldn’t see him fidgeting with his iPad.
Then he turned his head to smile at me and reached out his hand for mine.
Again, I hesitated, and the Lord spoke. “You are stronger together.”
I took my husband’s outstretched hand, offering silent prayer to the Lord. I confessed my selfishness and asked His forgiveness, thanking Him for the many gifts I had in my husband. Peace began to flood my soul as I realized that Jesus wanted me to share our intimate fellowship with my husband. Christ had something to reveal to us together that wouldn’t be realized apart.
Hand in hand, listening to the sounds of the sea, we prayed together. I can’t recall all that was said. I simply remember the sweet encounter with Jesus we shared, and the feel of warm tears slowly descending down my cheeks.
Afterward we sat in silence again, watching the waves crash the beach. Without even looking at me, my husband spoke. “We’re supposed to go with Larry.”
It was the answer to the question I had asked my Shepherd to clarify. I had prayed specifically that His Spirit would reveal the path to each of us, that we both would hear the same divine message and our agreement would reveal Him in the midst of it. My husband’s words were the confirmation I had sought.
God did give me the answer I longed for that morning, not in spite of my husband’s presence there, but through it. How thankful I am that I listened to the stirring of His gentle Spirit instead of the loud roar of my flesh. Now I didn’t just have a Word from the Lord. I had a witness. Oh how I love His faithfulness!
You might be interested to know what initiated my divine appointment with God on the beach that day. My husband shared with me that he had trouble getting to sleep the night before. As he finally drifted off, he made a last request of the Lord. He asked God to wake him for the sunrise.
Kind of gives a new perspective on the term “helpmate,” doesn’t it? My husband asked to see the sunrise so the Lord woke his wife. I asked for direction, and the Lord gave it through my husband.
“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:6
God’s ways are always higher, always better. Imagine if we learned to walk in tune with the still, small voice, surrendering selfishness moment by moment in exchange for His gentle instruction. I think we’d discover an abundance of sweet blessings.
I’m game. Are you?