As missionaries with Extreme Nazarene Ministries, our greatest job is to work ourselves out of a job. We are to develop leaders who will do what we do and so much more. As part of this plan, this morning I had the opportunity to begin piano lessons with one of our up and coming leaders. As I began to teach the most basic concepts of piano, God spoke to me in a very real way.
I have played piano for about 19 years, and though I in no way claim to be a great pianist, I have learned many things throughout my time tickling the ivories. It is not often that I have to think about how to explain where middle C is, or why it is important to know that; or what is a flat and how to explain the difference between an eighth note and a half note. As I was teaching these basic concepts to my student today, it made me reflect on all that God is trying to teach me in my devotional time with Him.
In the grand scheme of my relationship with God, I am in many ways still trying to learn the basics. Sometimes it is easy for me to relax a bit and think, “I’m doing pretty well. I learned something today,” and just leave it at that. However, today as I was teaching these concepts to my student, I recognized a deep yearning inside of me to teach her everything I know. It was hard to settle myself down and be patient with the location of middle C and the major and minor chords when I knew there were so many more things to playing the piano than this. I wanted to fast forward to the point when she will start learning how to invert chords and play by ear with the other instruments. I wanted to watch her play solo music during the invitation to receive Christ.
As I recognized this desire in myself for my piano student, it made me wonder how much more God longs to take us deeper. I wonder how many times He has been anxiously waiting for me to move beyond the location of middle C in my relationship with Him so He can show me more profound truths. Like the student who only practices for a few minutes a day slowly improves her skills, if I am only spending a few minutes a day in prayer and seeking God, I will only slowly improve my relationship with God. What revelations and inspirations am I missing out on by thinking that I am doing a “good enough” job?
As I was doing some homework for my pastor’s wife today, one of the references was Daniel 10:11: “And the man (angel) said to me, ‘Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.'” Later on in verse 12: “Then he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.'” Daniel had been fasting and praying fervently for 21 days when the angel arrived. The angel said that he had been sent immediately, but was detained by a battle waged between the demons and the angels in the heavenly realms.
There are several things that I take from this. First, how fervent are my prayers for the people I am ministering to? Second, are my prayers important enough to call the attention of the enemy? Third, do I truly believe that my prayers are heard in heaven? I have always imagined that God hears my prayers, but in the story of Daniel it sounds like the angels are also witnesses to them as well. Finally, have I earned a reputation of integrity before God and have I drawn near enough to Him that I could have angelic revelations such as the one that Daniel had? Does God trust me with His plan for His people? God revealed to Daniel many things about the future because he was faithful to grow to a level of spiritual maturity in which God trusted Him with the very secrets of His heart. If I am stuck at simply learning what is in the Bible, I am missing out on an intimacy that would not only change my life, but also the lives of many other people. I hold within my hands a responsibility that is much bigger than my meager story.
I realized today that the Great Teacher wants me to take my relationship with Him much more seriously. I have been seeking Him, but He has opened up my heart to seek Him much more. There isn’t anything that I wouldn’t give to know Him more. I want to go to the depths with Him. I want to know what it is like to enter into a whole different realm with Him than seems possible or real at this point. I don’t want to be satisfied walking away from my hour with Him in the morning feeling moved by the Spirit and convicted of a couple different things. I don’t want to be satisfied with memorizing simple passages of Scripture. I want to know God as He really is. I want my prayers to change the world. So I give my time – all of it – to the Great Teacher. May I be a faithful student.