Last night I stayed up until 3am. And I remembered why I so seldom read fiction books anymore. If I pick one up, it's usually because it's really good, and then I can't put it down. This one was a Ted Dekker novel entitled "Heaven's Wager".
It was the story of a man who lost everything in a situation similar to Job in the Bible. In the story, we are reminded of Satan coming before God to insist that he could make a righteous man curse God. A riveting story is woven together of a new challenge. Satan had come before God again and insisted that he could keep an unrighteous man from responding to God's love (this is actually not revealed until the end). And the author proceeds to write a compelling story of a man who loses everything, just like Job, successfully commits the crime of the century, and then in the end reaches out to receive God's love and his soul is saved. My favorite part is the faith of his mother-in-law, who intercedes for him constantly and obeys God's sometimes unusual requests (to move in with him; to walk 8 hours a day on crippled legs and pray for him).
I am challenged by the story to become a better listener. I want to be listening when the Lord says "go and hug that child" or when He says "get in the car and take the kids to the park". Or when He says "no", or "yes!" or "humble yourself and apologize". It is not enough to be in the Word, going to church and teaching the children. I have to be focused on the Lord; to be leaning into His strength and allowing my burdens to seep away in the mountain of might which is El Elyon, the Lord most high.
"And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." -Isaiah 30:21