From 10:30 To Half Past Midnight
In 1654, the famed mathematician, Blaise Pascal had a profoundly mystical, and spiritually uplifting experience one night from 10:30PM until 12:30AM. How do we know this? He wrote it down on a piece of paper that he later sewed into the lining of his coat.
We can only surmise that the reason he did this was to preserve it and keep it somewhere close to his heart. It was only after his death that the paper with his words from that night were discovered.
His note began: "The Year of grace 1654... From about ten-thirty in the evening to about half an hour after Midnight... Fire."
Pascal continued his note by writing: "I separated myself from [Jesus]; I fled him, renounced him, Crucified him. May I never be separated from him!"
And then finally this: "Total submission to Jesus Christ and to my director. Eternally in joy for a day of trial on earth."
I imagine Pascal sitting at a small seventeenth-century wooden desk, feverishly writing this all down with his quill pen, his fingers stained with ink. On his face is a broad smile, a joyful expression--the kind that can only come through the peace of complete and total surrender.
I have had my fair share of dark nights of the soul. I am sure you have as well. It's something we all share. But there are other moments, too. There are moments when the presence of God surrounds me, and my heart feels as though it might burst through my chest with gratitude and wonder.
Lois Cheney wrote a poem in the 1960's that captures the essence of such a moment. She claims she is "looking for a word" to best describe those kinds of heart-through-your-chest moments and she thinks the word she is looking for is "joy."
And then she writes, "Or maybe it's 'God.' Then again, maybe they're the same word."
My prayer for you today is that you will have more and more moments in your life where you experience the indescribably joy of the Lord. I pray that you will be consumed by the fire of the Holy Spirit in your heart.
I pray the very prayer that the Apostle Paul prayed for the church at Rome:
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.