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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Mary C. Earle

Thursday, April 23

I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
My heart teaches me, night after night.
—Psalm 16:7

“I don’t feel productive,” she said. “Ever since the surgery, all I do is sleep. And when I am not sleeping, I am lying in bed or sitting in a chair. I doze off a lot.”

“Can you pray?” I asked.

Despite the obvious difficulty of recovering from a six-hour surgery, she smiled shyly and said, “For the first time in my life, I feel like God is praying in me. Even when I sleep, I sense there is something happening. It scares me a bit.”

In her weakness of post-surgical recovery, she could not be productive. She had to be still and allow the healing to take place. She had to forego her professional identity and put aside the trappings of title and big salary.

At home, in bathrobe and slippers, struggling to walk without wincing, she discovered something surprising. In this weakened state, with nothing to distract her from her situation and the inescapable awareness of mortality, she felt the nearness of God.

In the night, even in the hospital, she had become aware of God’s presence. She had begun to reconsider many things—how she lived, how she worked, how she prayed.

Months later, when her body had healed and she had returned to her professional life, she missed the nightly teaching. She missed the sense of being so close to the presence of God. And she never forgot that in that time of being so close to death, she encountered the God who is with her at every moment of her life.

She is making changes. Slowly but surely she is caring less about being productive, and more about loving God and her neighbor. Her heart did teach her, night after night.

Risen and Gracious Christ, may I listen for you in the night; may my heart receive your counsel, now and always. Amen.