He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. Isaiah 50:4(NIV)
After driving through a game reserve in South Africa looking for animals all day, we arrived at camp just in time to pack snacks for a night ride. I called to my eight-year-old daughter Elizabeth to change into warm clothes. She and her friend Danie were busy filling squirt guns.
"But I don't want to go on the night ride," she wailed. "I want to stay and have a water fight with Danie. We've been planning it all day!" I insisted she get ready, and she stomped off to her room, wailing protests.
I went in and explained. "I understand you had a long day in the car, and playing with Danie sounds much more fun right now. But that's something you can do every day we're here. Tonight may be the only chance you'll have in your whole life to see animals in the wild at night. I think you'll be very sad tomorrow if you choose to miss it just to do something you can do any other day."
Somehow Elizabeth pried herself away from the camp fun and came with us. Elizabeth still talks about the luminous eyes peering at us from trees, the elephant at the watering hole, the hyenas circling our vehicle.
The next morning I woke early and pondered what to do before the alarm went off. I considered writing postcards or finishing a novel. But then I smiled, remembering Elizabeth's decision the previous evening. I can write postcards or read later. But this will be my only chance today to spend time alone with God.
How often I waste these precious, quiet, moments on things I can do at other times during the day. Whether in the morning or during a lunch break or late at night, these pauses to pray or read His Word add up to a "once in a lifetime" chance to grow closer to God.
My Lord, help me take every opportunity to be with You.