It is in the dark that God is passing by. The bridge and our lives shake not because God has abandoned, but the exact opposite: God is passing by. God is in the tremors. Dark is in the holiest ground, the glory passing by. In the blackest, God is the closest, at work, forging his perfect and right will. Though it is black and we can’t see and our world seems to be free-falling and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us.Ann Voscamp
Tag: God’s Presence
The Road Back: Psalms of the Sons of Korah, Grace and Glory
What a change! From the pit of despair to the height of the grace and glory of God’s presence. Wow.
Do you remember the starting point for the leader of the rebellion in the wilderness, when Korah and his followers blamed Moses for all their problems? Here is some background of the story.
Then Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi: Is it too small an honor for you that the God of Israel has singled you out from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to perform the service of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them; and that He has brought you near, Korah, and all your brothers, sons of Levi, with you? But are you seeking the priesthood as well? Therefore you and your whole group are the ones gathered together against the Lord; but as for Aaron, who is he, that you grumble against him? (Numbers 16:8-11NASB)
Many years later, a remnant group of descendants, who had born the stigma of being from the family that rebelled, found their way home. In his deliberate denial of God’s goodness and lack of trust in his plan to rid them of old mindsets in the process of going to the Promised Land, Korah and his friends and followers demanded power for themselves. After travelling the path of repentance, the path of changing course and returning to God’s ways, the once shamed band of poets and musicians King David assigned to lead worship experienced finding their true home. They wrote in Psalm 84:
How lovely are Your dwelling places,
Lord of armies!
My soul longed and even yearned for the courtyards of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
The bird also has found a house,
And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may put her young:
Your altars, Lord of armies,
My King and my God. (verses 1-3)
Korah and his friends were jealous of Aaron. They had served the congregation on the threshold of the tabernacle, but they wanted more power.
The Sons of Korah found the God they served on the threshold of the Tabernacle generously poured grace on them, even though they didn’t rise to hold positions of highest honour in men’s eyes. This is where they experienced his glory. God did not withhold any good thing from them as they walked in integrity and simply worshipped. They found joy in service, not in control.
For a day in Your courtyards is better than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than live in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
He withholds no good thing from those who walk with integrity.
Lord of armies,
Blessed is the person who trusts in You! (verses 10-12)
As Gayle Erwin wrote, “No one jostles for the position of servant.” It takes a long time for some of us to realize that ambition can drive us seriously off course when the goal is to have control, or to gain a position that demands respect, or accumulate fans, or make money. The road back from rebellion is the road to joy and godly contentment. It’s learning that striving to reach our own definition of the “top” is itself a form of slavery. It’s a change of heart that comes more in line with the truth of the gospel that if Jesus, the Son of God sets you free, you will be truly free. The road back is discovering that God is who he says he is, and he is worthy of our trust.
Blessed is the person who trusts in You!
How lovely is thy dwelling place – Johannes Brahms, John Rutter, Cambridge Singers, Aurora Orchestra – YouTube
Better Is One Day – Here Be Lions (Official Live Video) – YouTube
When There Are No Words
I thank you, Lord, and with all the passion of my heart
I worship you in the presence of angels!
Psalm 138:1 TPT
Pour into me the brightness of your daybreak!
Pour into me your rays of revelation-truth!
Let them comfort and gently lead me onto the shining path,
showing the way into your burning presence,
into your many sanctuaries of holiness.
Psalm 43:3 TPT
I lost my finder.
My talent for losing keys, wallet, and phone is the butt of jokes in my family. All of them hear me say, “I just had it in my hand!” regularly – like every time I am late for something. My adult kid and her spouse bought me several of those little electronic dollar coin-sized devices that are supposed to keep track of important stuff, like keys wallet and phone. I call them my finders. I appreciate the help. They have rescued me more than once.
One evening this week I drove out to favourite spots about half an hour away, hoping to catch golden hour light. Frankly, I forgot to account for the advancing season and early mountain shadow on that side of the valley. The window of opportunity shrunk rapidly. I took a few photos, then came home.
I know I had a finder on my car keys at Munro Lake because I noticed it coming out of its stretchy pouch that hangs on my keychain. I put it back in. When I pulled them out of the ignition at the next stop, the finder was missing.
I searched the car, including under and around the seats. I checked every pocket in my clothes and in my camera bag. Then I checked again. And again.
I must have dropped it somewhere in my meanderings. Losing an item whose only purpose in life is to help me not lose things was just too embarrassing. I had to find it before the jokes started. My phone should help me track it down, right?
The next morning, I went back to the same area –with my camera, of course. The morning light was wonderful. The birds gathered in the meadow preparing for their flight south. The breeze blew sweetly and the sun glistened on the grass. Heavenly.
I checked my phone. It located my key finder… last known location …28 km away… two weeks ago.
That was no help. I walked up and down the Peavine road looking for a shiny object. I went back to Munro Lake and Mineral Lake and Moyie Lake – eventually. The morning felt like that time my friends kidnapped me when I turned down an opportunity to go on a picnic one perfect spring day because I thought I should study.
I felt like God kidnapped me this time. I felt his love and his presence as we walked and talked. I was in no rush. I didn’t want to leave.
Four hours later, after I couldn’t think of anywhere else to look, I said, “When I first got to know you, Lord, you showed me you were with me by finding things for me. Could you do that again? I know it’s a just a little tracker, but I can’t find it myself. I’ve looked everywhere. I need you.”
I saw people carrying kayaks toward the beach and took a few more photos. Then I went back to the car. I opened the door. There was my finder! On my car seat!
Today a friend was talking about sensing God’s presence. We don’t call him down to be in our midst. He’s here already. He promised he wouldn’t leave. He seeks our presence. He delights in us. He wants us, our attention. Our awareness of him increases by focusing on him through whatever means he invites us to worship. For me that often means being out in nature.
Spending time with the Lord is not an escape from reality. He wants us to bring that awareness of his presence into everything we do.
I wonder if God feels like I do sometimes when I’ve gone to a lot of work to prepare a meal for my loved ones and they can’t hear me call them for diner because they have ear phones on, or are engaged in heated discussion with someone, or think they can’t take time away from work. I’m there. I’m just not on their radar at the moment.
It wasn’t my finder that needed finding. It was me. I’m glad God kidnapped me.
Thank you, Lord. That was a delicious meal. You are beautiful.