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

Weekend Walk, 06/09/2012: Searching for Water in the Desert

Hiding the Word:

For the last few days, we’ve been waving at each other from the rear view mirror of our cars.

At least that’s how it feels.  My husband is performing in a show for the next two weeks.  The girls and I have been flitting here and there to concerts, day trips, birthday parties, doctor’s appointments and more.  Plus we’ve started rehearsals for a show of our own.

I kiss my husband goodbye in the morning before he grabs his bagged lunch from the counter.  The next thing I know, I’m waking up to the sound of his car pulling into the driveway past my bedtime.

It’s okay.  It’s temporary.  His show will end.  Our summer groove will settle into place.  We’ll have other weeks of craziness, but nights of rest as well.

But just for today, just for this moment, I am thinking how nice it would be to chat with him about his day and talk about how all this whirlwind of life is going.  If we could talk without children interrupting, fighting, or protesting their bedtime routine, even better.

It’s why I would have failed as a Navy wife–my need for the continuance of connection.  One night without the phone call after his work day, one day when he’s up early and home late, and I miss my husband.  I make determined efforts to sit by his side and hear what happened in his life that day.

Because if you don’t make the time, it generally doesn’t just happen on its own.

How long can you go before you miss God?  How many days can slip past before you feel the void of His presence and mourn the loss of connection with Him?

If we’re walking in intimacy with our God, shouldn’t we miss Him the moment we’ve started a day without prayer or the instant we’ve flown past our quiet time?

On the busiest days, when a snack (preferably chocolate) and mindless television seem the answer to my tired body and exhausted mind, that’s exactly when I long for God the most. Because if I don’t make the time, it doesn’t just magically happen.

It’s the day when I missed my afternoon cup of tea over Scripture because I’m out and about with frenetic activity that I flop into my dining room chair in the first moments after my kids’ bedtime.  I take one long indulgent sip sweet hot tea, open up my Bible and pray, “Dear Jesus, how I’m desperate for You today.  Pleas meet me in this place.”

Since life is crazy, I’ve chosen a verse for the week that reminds us all of how desperately we should seek after intimacy with God:

O God, you are my God;
    I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
    my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
    where there is no water
(Psalm 63:1 NLT)

This time with God isn’t a luxury.  It’s not a bonus, an extra, an amenity, or a perk.

It’s life itself.  It’s as simple as desperation for water for a soul in the desert.

Let’s seek Him earnestly this week, making it an active and engaged pursuit of His presence.  Making it a priority, not just nonchalantly hoping a few minutes of unstructured time will show up in our day.  Because if we don’t make it happen, it never will.

Weekend Rerun:

Well-Hunting in the Desert

Originally posted on July 20, 2011

 

“Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs”
(Isaiah 35:6-7).

When we first moved into this house, we quickly discovered something unnoticed during the walk-through or inspection.  The water smelled like rotten eggs. As a result, I was brushing my teeth with bottled water and holding my breath while taking a shower.

Like any good 21st century homeowners, we Google-searched our way into solutions and scoured the Internet for answers.  Which we found.  Simply open the top of our well and shock the water with a $1 jug of bleach.

Sounded easy.  Until we realized that somewhere on this half acre of land is the top to a well that we could not find.  We knew it had to be there.  We had running water and didn’t pay the city for it.  We consulted drawings of our property and sheepishly hinted to the water specialist (whom we had to call since we couldn’t fix the stinky water ourselves, having not found the well), that we really would like to know where the well was hidden on this land of ours.  He wasn’t helpful.

We have a guess as to where it might be, but we are in some ways still well-hunters, searching for the source of our water, assuming its presence without seeing it ourselves.

I’ve been well-hunting recently in real life, too.  Like Hagar, wandering in the wilderness, running low on provisions, hopelessly lost and not able to go back and yet not certain where to go instead. Out there in her wilderness, “God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water” (Genesis 21:19).

“Open my eyes,” I’ve prayed, “to the well of your provision, to the fountain of Your presence, to the water of sustenance and hope. I want to see the well You have provided in this desert place.”

Because I’m parched and yet I feel like I’m drowning.

It’s so often God’s way to bring water and with it so much more to those in His care.

To Hagar, a well in the desert that she hadn’t seen before.

To Elijah, “bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water” to sustain him on a 40-day walk to the Mountain of God (1 Kings 19:6).

To the Israelites who complained, “there is no water to drink!,” He brought forth water from rock.

For the redeemed, He promises that “water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs” (Isaiah 35:6-7).

To the woman sitting next to a well with a jar on her shoulder, Living Water drawn up even without a bucket (John 4:10).

Out of nothing, amidst wilderness and desert, even burning sand, He brings water that heals, sustains, provides, and gives life eternal.  He brings it in abundance with bubbling springs, streams filled so quickly that they are pooling, water we could drink that would satisfy us forever.  All out of nothing.

We could spend our lives sitting by clear-running streams of water, never risking the travel through the valley.  We could pitch our tents there by the known source of water and never lose sight of the well, never grow uncomfortable, never walk far enough away to be uncertain of provision, never venture one step into the wilderness.

But we’d never make it to the Mountain of God like Elijah and the Israelites.  Never know the God Who Sees like Hagar.  Never know the Giver of Living Water like the woman at the well.

So, as we scan the horizon and see only barren land, rocks of gray and dusty earth cracked from lack of rain, we search for the well.  It’s there.  Maybe hidden now so that we cannot see, but God works in the hidden places to bring us provision at the exact moment of our need.

David searched for the well in the desert.  He wrote:

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).

and

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2)

David, my fellow well-hunter, knew the best way to find the hidden water, even when his soul was downcast, even when he thirsted for God’s presence like a deer dehydrated after too long a journey away from the stream.

  • Put your hope in God.
  • Praise Him even in sorrow.
  • Remember what God has done.

He says: Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.  My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you (Psalm 42:5-6).

Years ago, Caedmon’s Call sang these words: “Down in the valley, dying of thirst.  Down in the valley, it seems that I’m at my worst.  My consolation is that You baptize this earth when I’m down in the valley.  Valleys fill first.”

Valleys fill first, my friend.  When God brings the water, when He rains down “showers of blessing” in their season (Ezekiel 34:26), the valley is where you will want to be so that you can fully receive all that He pours over your head.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com 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.