Sometime this week I climbed into the shower determined to do two things: clean myself and engage in prayer. It may seem odd to think about engaging in prayer in a shower but I offer you a short story and an observation…
…many years ago when I was on a Christian camp up in the Northern Transvaal, I was not what you might call in a happy receptive state because of a young lady. So, I got irritated with everybody in the main hall who was focused on the preacher and his message and I retired to the bathroom to seek the solitude of a cubicle. I was minding my own business when some guy took a cubicle nearby to take care of some toileting business, and I listened horrified as he alternately called out quietly a ‘Praise the Lord’ to something in the sermon and grunted with the exertions of his bodily movement…
So, with the passing of a few years my perspective is that while we see nakedness, going to the loo and showering as inappropriate for even thinking about God, He made us like that and it perhaps doesn’t bother Him as much as it does us. And, if some random guy can praise the Lord while conducting earthly business, then I can think about God and pray while the shower is on the go.
Except that my mind just doodled in random directions and I couldn’t get any prayer going.
As recorded in Scripture (Genesis 28), Jacob was on his way to Harran to find a wife and made camp at what he thought to be a random place, using a rock for a pillow (I imagine he padded it with blankets), and there had a dream of a staircase with angels ascending and descending on it, almost what to a 21st century mind could be described as an escalator to heaven’s tube station, and at the top of the stairway stands the Lord. There God promised to give him the land he was sleeping on and obviously descendants to fill it.
I like what Jacob said after he awoke: “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” (verse 16, NIV).
Sometimes, in what seems to be a random time and place, God reveals Himself. And like Jacob, we are surprised.
I have been in chapels and cathedrals and not encountered God when I was expecting it. At other times I have been driving while eating a McDonald’s meal, and had a profound experience with God. Or aimlessly walking through a banana field in White River while on my own and feeling down. Or while driving to work on a week morning of all times, getting flicked in the place where tear ducts are activated, moved by a song. Or sitting in an otherwise deserted lounge in London watching an episode of ‘Little House on the Prairie’.
With God telling Jacob what he did, it makes me think that God has already been (and is waiting) in whatever place I find myself, especially in the places where I don’t expect it.
I’m not advocating trying to have a spiritual experience in the loo – that just seems a little off – but it just seems to me that with an open heart, you never know where or when God may speak to you. So when you hear his voice, just go with it.