I am totally on the hunt for devotional moments...
Look! There goes a devotional!
I’ll explain. Or will try. I have a friend who is a very serious bird-watcher. He can glance casually up at a bunch of ordinary-looking birds in a perfectly ordinary-looking sky then suddenly become stock still, like some excited German short-haired pointer dog spotting something in the brush, before going into urgent mode, whipping out his cell and sending a text that an extremely rare something-or-other (I don’t know birds) has been spotted at such-and-such coordinates. He then enters the sighting in a digital log and fetches his binoculars. Soon, he tells me, bird-watchers from miles around will descend on the area.
How does he manage to spot one rare bird in a sky full of feathers?
“Well,” he explained, “you learn to look at the sky differently.”
Which makes perfect sense to me. I’m lucky enough to be one of the writers for Daily Guideposts, our popular annual devotional collection that, by the way, is celebrating its 35th anniversary as America’s favorite devotional in 2011. I’ve been contributing about a dozen devotionals a year to the book since the mid-nineties when I was convinced and cajoled to try and write just six. And I didn’t think I could manage that.
Just as my bird-watcher friend learned to see the sky differently, I had to learn to see the landscape of my life differently too, so I could spot those hidden inspirational moments that I would shape into miniature Guideposts stories. And by practicing this art again and again I found myself with a deeper spiritual view on life. God’s presence was everywhere and his grace was a kind of spiritual gravity that held our souls together. Not that I didn’t know that already. What I saw was evidence. Everywhere.
Anyway, this is the time of year where I am trying to meet my devotional quota for my editor, Andrew Attaway, a very sweet man except when it comes to publishing deadlines. And the fact that I spent all year writing a book makes no difference at all to him; it’s not going to get me off the hook. So I am totally on the hunt for devotional moments, like those rare birds in the sky that my friend can see, for the 2012 version of Daily Guideposts. (We work far ahead.) People who know me best sometimes go into hiding during devotional season lest they get dragged into another one (“Hey, you did me last year!”). But I just saw something in the paper today that I find ripe for a devotional. Astronomers are dismayed to learn that they may have underestimated the numbers of stars in the universe (and therefore the numbers of galaxies) by two-thirds. That’s a pretty big miss. I mean it’s not even close! Scientists are knocked back on their heels, and nothing amuses me more than scientists being knocked back on their heels except theologians being knocked back on theirs.
I love Daily Guideposts like I love a family. There are about 60 of us writers all told and it is amazing how much we learn about each other’s lives and families and the world at large through these short, inspiring stories that come with a scripture verse and a personal prayer. The real secret is they’re addictive. You can order a 30-day free online trial if you want but I think you should just plunge in and buy the book. Shipping is free.