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Wait Five Minutes


The saying, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes” and its variations have been attributed to Mark Twain and President Harry Truman, among others. For many of us living in the Midwest, we know this is an adage about weather. However, it has to be the right five-minute time span! The rest of the day or even week can be quite boring.

The morning of December 6, 2012 in Buchanan, Michigan, I got up and went into the kitchen. It was then that I noticed a blazing dark red sky in the east. I went to the window and stood watching the fabulous display of color. I was there about five minutes and the colors slowly changed from red to orange to pale yellow, and then it was mostly shades of gray. If I had slept a little longer, I would have missed the whole performance. It was only five minutes, but the memory of it was with me all day, has been with me since, and will continue in my memory into the future.

Some of us are faithful sunrise and sunset watchers, hoping to see someday one of the rarest of optical phenomena, a Green Flash. It only lasts a few seconds, but if you don’t have your face and eyes turned to the sun, you will never see one. You have to be there at the right time expecting, watching, and waiting for it.

For the diehard enthusiasts, a Blue Flash is the ultimate sunset watching experience. But as with the Green Flash, you will never experience the excitement until you see it, and you have to spend time consistently watching to even have a chance to do so.

Nevertheless, how many of these five-minute displays have I missed in my lifetime? How many times have I slept and wasn’t even aware God had given me something special for my day? The same can be asked of Bible study and prayer. How many times have I slept in and missed the special message He had for me that morning — not even aware there was something to be grasped and thought about? It only takes a few minutes, but you have to turn your face toward the Son in order to receive the gift. Moreover, the most special gift comes as you patiently wait for the Green Flash of spiritual insight. To paraphrase Mark Twain or President Truman, “If you don’t like your prayer life, wait on the Lord for 30 minutes!”

Here are some examples of early morning encounters with God:

• Genesis 28:16-18

• Psalm 5:1-4

• Psalm 30:4, 5

• Psalm 59:16

• Psalm 130:5, 6

• Isaiah 50:4

• Lamentations 3:22, 23

• Mark 1:35


Dennis Hollingsead works in the Office of Development at Andrews University. The first version of this article originally appeared in the Pioneer Memorial Church bulletin on January 5, 2013. It has been revised for Spectrum and is reprinted here with permission.

Image: Wikimedia Commons


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