Mom, This is Embarrassing

It was my oldest daughter’s first big school project and she was nervous about it.

After reading a book about a character named Flat Stanley, she had to color a picture of him, cut him out, take him all around town on some adventures and then write about all the things that Flat Stanley did.

“Mom,” she whined, “I don’t want everyone to see me playing with a paper doll!”

“What paper doll?  This isn’t a doll.  It’s Flat Stanley!  He’s a prop, maybe a puppet, perhaps your best friend. C’mon; it’ll be fun!”

I wasn’t persuasive enough for her.

So, we started out by posing in front of the statue in the center of our town square.  We waited until all the other sight-seers passed by and then whipped out Flat Stanley for a picture.  My daughter scanned the area to make sure nothing embarrassing happened.

He shared a picnic lunch with us, sat in the town supervisor’s chair, and then toured the  museum.  By this time, my daughter had overcome the embarrassment and discovered the crazy fun of the day.At our local park, he see-sawed, climbed, investigated a hollowed-out tree and swung on the rings.  Flat Stanley even completed the exercise trail!Tired from all of his adventures, Flat Stanley finished off the day with some frozen yogurt.The next day, we made sure Flat Stanley came to church, where he danced on the piano keys, of course!

As we toted this little guy around town, it was a clear reminder to me that God is our Emmanuel; He is God With Us.

This is our great assurance and comfort, so we can stop being all embarrassed about it.  No more whipping out God when only other Christians are around and posing for the necessary spiritual photos.  Like Paul, we can proclaim, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile” (Romans 1:16).

Why be embarrassed when we have such a promise and hope?  This was God’s design from the beginning–to be with His people in everything they faced.  He shared perfect fellowship and communion with Adam and Eve as they strolled in a paradise garden together and chatted about their day.

Even when sin sundered their relationship, God designed ways to be with His people.  He gave instructions to Moses for the tabernacle, which was a portable worship center.  Everywhere the people traveled, they could worship and sacrifice to God.

God’s design for the tabernacle was specific.  He gave every detail of dimension and material.  It’s not because He’s a micromanager of a deity or because He’s dull and boring and liable to put people to sleep when you spend time with Him.

It’s for this one incredible and amazing reason—the tabernacle God designed for the earth is a reminder of what’s to come in heaven.  In Hebrews we read: “They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: ‘See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain'” (Hebrews 8:5).

Here’s the point.  The Tabernacle was God’s idea.  He created a way to be with His people wherever they went.

The temple, the set in stone, unmoveable center of worship in Jerusalem wasn’t God’s initial idea.  It was King David’s.

David wanted to make a permanent dwelling place for God on earth.  Even Nathan the prophet thought this sounded like a great idea and gave God’s blessing on the building project.

But God had something to say about this.  That night, He told Nathan the prophet, “I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought Israel up out of Egypt to this day. I have moved from one tent site to another, from one dwelling place to another” (1 Chronicles 17:5).

Ultimately, after David’s adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah (her husband), God prohibited David from building the temple at all, allowing his son, Solomon, to construct it instead.

But, all along God had another plan.  He sent Jesus—-God in human flesh.  He sent the Holy Spirit—the indwelling presence of God in our lives everyday and everywhere we go.

We don’t have to wait until heaven to feel His presence.

We don’t have to trek across the world on a spiritual pilgrimage to find the only place where God lives.

We don’t live with segregated lives for the times and places we meet with the God and the times and places we leave Him home.

We don’t face anything in this life alone.  Not one single trial.  Not one hurt.  Not any temptation or sadness.  No fear.

It is God’s presence in our lives at all times and in all places that brings us joy, hope, comfort and courage. As God said to Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King

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