Three years ago, our family headed to a News-boys concert at the Minnesota State Fair. After finding our seats, Davis, our six-year-old, said, "Dad, I gotta go to the bathroom." They scrambled down bleachers, waited in line, and within minutes were back cheering along with everyone else. Twenty minutes later, Davis needed another bathroom trip. Then another. Seven trips later, my frustrated husband and I shook our heads. What was going on?
Dr. Brown delivered the diagnosis two weeks later: "Your son has juvenile diabetes."
In the weeks following this diagnosis, I felt too overwhelmed to have my quiet time with God. While I'd always made a daily effort to meet with him, suddenly my reality didn't cooperate with 30-minute or 15-minute devotional time slots. I have to be more disciplined, I told myself. When I triedand failedI felt guilty.
I wasn't alone in this struggle. After the birth of her son Seth and then Caden, my coworker Sara was too tired to have daily devotions. The words "Your daughter has terminal cancer" shattered my friend Carol's routine dates with God. And chaos moved in when my sister-in-law Erin's landlord said, "You have ten days to move out."
We've heard it a million times: Daily devotions are the key to a growing relationship with God. So what do we do when crises and the ordinary craziness of life make quiet times impossible? The answer, I've discovered, involves five important questions.
Too often we harbor a picture of God tapping his foot and muttering, "I'm wait-ing. Why aren't you spending more time with me?" However, the real God hears the screaming deadlines, smells the dirty laundry, sees our paycheck amount, and enters our reality. As we care for an elderly parent or struggle in a marriage, God says, "Here I am. I thought you could use some grace today."1