Read an Excerpt
Enjoy the Silence: A 30-Day Experiment in Listening to God
We'd been to this church several times, so the offer didn't catch either of us totally off guard. On the other occasions
I had spoken at Mount Oak Church in suburban
Washington, D.C., Maggie and I had opportunities to meet some of the folks in the congregation. We knew many of them held important and interesting government jobs.
It was not unusual on a Sunday morning to be ushered to your seat by a Pentagon consultant, listen to a testimony by an FBI agent, or hear an offertory solo by a congressional aide.
But Steve Evans had a particularly intriguing job. He was in charge of all Secret Service agents working in the
He approached us after the Sunday evening service and offered an invitation. He said he would like the two of us to come to the White House the next morning to meet the president of the United States.
Of course we were blown away. We couldn't believe it.
We just kept thinking, 'Gosh, what a treat this will be for the president!' So we said, 'Great, let's do it!'
Standing in the back of the church, we worked through the logistics of the next morning. Steve made it very clear we needed to meet him at the west gate of the
White House promptly at 7:30 a.m.---and we had to be out by 8:15 a.m. It seems there was a cabinet meeting scheduled for 8:15, and Steve had a sneaky suspicion the cabinet members wouldn't appreciate our presence in the room during the meeting.
He told us we'd have to leave the home where we were staying by 6:30 a.m. if we were going to make it to the White House by 7:30. That meant rise-and-shine no later than 5:30!
That Sunday night we went to bed at our friends'
house with our heads spinning. We couldn't believe we were going to be standing in the Oval Offi ce in eight short hours. It took us awhile to settle down to sleep, but fi nally we drifted off.
In what seemed like the middle of the night, we were awakened by a ringing phone. We couldn't fi gure out who would be calling at such an hour, but since it wasn't our phone, we ignored it. We heard footsteps crossing the kitchen floor to answer the phone. A moment later
Carol, our hostess, knocked on our bedroom door and said, 'Duffy, are you awake? Telephone for you. It's the
I opened the door, still half asleep, took the phone from her, and said, 'Mr. President, I hope you're not going to ask us to stick around for the cabinet meeting tomorrow morning. We've got things to do.'
I was greeted by an urgent voice. 'Duffy, is that you?
Where are you? Do you know what time it is?'
My brain was still lingering in the Twilight Zone, so I
asked, 'Who is this?'
'It's Steve Evans,' was the reply. 'Duffy, it's 7:45. I
was calling just to make sure you guys were on your way.
If you haven't left yet, there's no way you're going to get down here in time. We're going to have to cancel the whole thing this morning. I'm sorry. Maybe the next time you come to Mount Oak, we can set something up.'
By the time I hung up the phone, my wife knew something was up. She heard only my end of the conversation,
but she could tell something wasn't right. When I got back to bed, she asked what the problem was.
'Maggie,' I said, 'I don't know how to say this, but you're married to one of the only guys in the country who slept through a chance to meet the president of the United
I couldn't see the expression on Maggie's face, but I
knew exactly what she was thinking. She was thinking---
well, she was thinking exactly the same thing you're thinking as you read this story: What a complete idiot!
But before you close this book in disgust, let me make two comments about this episode.
Number one: It never happened. We made it up.
Number two: Actually, it did happen. In fact, it happened this morning. And it happens every day to millions of people. It's probably happened to you.
Not that you would sleep through a chance to go to the
Oval Office and meet the president of the United States.
Nobody's that stupid.
But people just like you---just like us---on days just like this one, pass up the opportunity to enter the throne room of almighty God and talk to the Creator of the universe. Every new day offers each of us a chance to get out of bed and spend some quality time with our heavenly
Father. But most of us blow it off for a few extra minutes of sleep.
That's a pretty sobering thought. But it shouldn't make you feel like a disgusting, spiritually impaired, sleep monger. That's not the purpose of this book. After all,
meeting with God every morning isn't some religious hoop you have to jump through in order to earn his love. We spend time with God because he loves us already---unconditionally---
and because we want to develop and deepen our relationship with him. Heck, it doesn't even have to happen in the morning! (Can we get an 'Amen'?)