Awaken to the holiness of God (so He doesn’t have to wake you up)

psalm 145

My daughter has one default answer to the question, “How are you?”

Most people default to, “Fine,” “Good,” “Okay,” or even “Great!”

I’ve heard people answer, “better than can be expected.”

And even, “blessed” or “still alive.”

Not her.  She has one response, “My tummy hurts.”

You may catch her in the middle of jumping up and down or running full-force outside on the playground.  Even then, if you ask how she’s feeling, she’ll pull a long face, drop her hand to her stomach and groan out an agonized, “My tummy hurts.”

Sometimes she’ll get really wild and crazy and say something totally unexpected like, “I have a headache.”  That’s just to keep us on our toes.

But when she started complaining this week of a stomachache, I fell into my normal mom-stance of skeptic complacency.

Sure, a stomachache.  So what else is new?

But it was new and different.  It was for real this time, a true illness that would confine her to the couch with a bucket for three days and counting.

She sure showed me!

How complacency blinds us and binds us!  One minute we’re living out the daily routine blindfolded and half checked out and the next minute we’re thrown awake, eyes wide-open, forced to pay attention.

Oh, for real this time.  This isn’t the normal.  This is new.

And we need to be shaken awake.

God didn’t design us to live life and live faith halfway asleep and mostly disengaged.

He wants our full attention.

So, He’s not above surprising us sometimes.

Maybe David needed a surprise like that.

When King David announced that the Ark of the Lord should be brought home to Jerusalem, the priests should have followed proper protocol.

Instead, they loaded what probably seemed like an old and generally meaningless relic from bygone days onto a cart and sent it on down the road.

They broke the rules.  God told them exactly how to handle His presence—carried on poles on the shoulders of priests, not bumbling down a bumpy road in a cart entrusted to animals.

So, when the Ark started to tumble off onto the ground, Uzzah the priest reached out to catch it, thinking surely he was doing the right thing, the good thing, the honorable thing.

But he was struck dead by the holy might of Almighty God.

No one should have touched the Ark.  Not ever.

Max Lucado writes:

Uzzah should have known this.  He was a priest, a Koathite priest, a descendent of Aaron himself.  The ark had been kept in the house of his father, Abinadab. He had grown up with it.  Which may be the best explanation for his actions…..The message: don’t grow lax before the holy.  God won’t be loaded on convenient wagons or toted about by dumb animals….

King David snapped to awake.  Of course, he snapped to anger also, exploding at God about the injustice of Uzzah’s death.

And then He worshiped in awe.

The truth is, all those years living in the same house as the Ark hadn’t impressed Uzzah; it had made him complacent, like he was handling little more than a dust-covered knick-knack from a living room shelf.

All those years living in the same house with my daughter, and she still manages to surprise me.

All these years of marriage, I still discover my husband and could there be any better than falling and falling and falling in love?

And, all these years with Jesus, surely He still surprises.  And amazes.

Just when you think you know what size box God fits in, He loves to show off His might.

Just when you think you know how far faith will take you, He asks you to go farther.

Just when you think you understand how deep His love is, He draws you down deeper.

David’s praise became rooted in a God who is great beyond comprehension:

 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;

    his greatness no one can fathom (Psalm 145:3 NIV, emphasis mine).

God sure can surprise us.

In fact, He can shock us right out of our socks and shoes some times.

How much better, though, to lean in and listen….

To quiet our restless hearts…..

To be still….

To pause and deeply look….

To awaken to the holiness of God and live life in awe of His presence, expecting His glory this very day, this very hour, this very moment.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer 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.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

 

 

 

What if God is in this place?

What if God is in this place?

It may not always seem likely.  Not when you’re elbow-deep in soapy dish water, or pulling out the third wipe from the tub while doing diaper duty.

Not perhaps while cradling a tiny babe at 2:00 in the morning so he can eat or zooming from school to ballet while quizzing children on homework questions at the same time.

And not when passing back sandwiches to little people in the car as you spend a night away from home moving from activity to activity.

Yet, this is the place I inhabit, the Mom World.  It’s the life where my schedule is dictated by the schedules of other, tinier, needier people.

There was a time….there will be a time….when I can linger over tea, a Bible, a prayer journal.DSCF2151

For now, though, I’m scribbling Scriptures onto index cards and reading devotionals in a parked car while waiting in a line to pick up my kids here, there, and everywhere.

God has to be mobile for me.  He has to be everywhere I go.  He can’t be confined to one hour, one specific holy place, one quiet spiritual atmosphere.

No, He has to be God amidst the loud, the stressful, the busy, the on-the-go, the tired.

We talk about the discipline of a quiet time, the need to establish a routine and stick with it no matter what.  Schedule your time with God….that’s the advice we give.

For most people, there’s wisdom there.  Make a date with God.  Write it down on the calendar.  Protect the time.  Do the habit until it becomes a habit.  Persevere until it becomes second-nature.

Sometimes, though, in some special seasons and particular times, this advice leaves us defeated.  My schedule is different each day of the week.  A newborn baby can cry and change my plans in one unexpected instant.

If I’m inflexible, too rigid, only ‘doing devotions,’ only meeting with God in this one place at this one time, I will miss Him.

I’ll miss Him completely and utterly.  My life would be devoid of heaven and communion with my Savior and I’d be one stressed out Mama ending every day emptier and emptier than the day before.

Yet, there’s Mary in Luke 1, a teenage girl busy with chores, doing common, everyday things on a common, average day. That’s when an angel appeared and announced she’d carry the Messiah.

God was at work.  She couldn’t see Him…not when hauling water and baking bread.  Still, God was in that place, active in her life, preparing the greatest plan of all plans to display His will and His presence in the world.

And then there’s Jacob, the runaway rogue, the trickster fleeing his home and family because he’d made his brother, Esau, mad enough to kill him.

All Jacob did was fall asleep on a stone pillow and God was there, displaying a stairway up to heaven and bringing blessing and promise for Jacob’s future.

What could Jacob say, but:

“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” (Genesis 28:16 NIV)?

That’s it exactly, what I’m thinking, what I’m praying for and hoping to accomplish even with four young kids and a husband and a ministry and a life…

To be aware.

I don’t want to walk in and out of this life unaware of God in this place—right here, right now, right in the middle of everything I’m doing and everywhere I have to be.  I can wait for some future moment when an uninterrupted hour of quiet is an everyday commodity, but how much better to ask God to inhabit this busy, stressful, active, full life, the very life He’s given me?

After all, even when we set apart time and places for holy encounters, we can miss seeing His glory.

Zechariah the priest entered the holy place for a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with God….and yet when the angel appeared to him and announced that he’d be the father of the Messiah’s forerunner, Zechariah “was startled and was gripped with fear” (Luke 1:12 NIV).

What was God doing there in the temple?  What was God doing there on this spiritual day?

Zechariah stood in a holy place at a holy time and didn’t expect to see the holy.

But I want to be expectant in the holy places and in the places that seem steeped in the mundane.  God, please meet me here in the mini-van, here helping with homework, here making dinner, folding clothes, washing dishes, packing lunches, feeding a newborn.

May I remember that yes, God is in this place.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer 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.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King