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How lovely is your dwelling place

This season of new marriage has taught me a lot about my own selfishness.

My own quiet time has been revealing that as well.

Today I was sitting with the story of Moses and the writings of Beth Moore.

Moses and the Israelites were waiting in the desert. The Israelites had begun living lives of sin and idolatry. Regardless of the sin of the Israelites, the Lord was ready to fulfill his promise of blessing for them. (This is crazy awesome to me….the faithfulness of God despite the complete rebellion of his people). God was ready to fill his promises of Land, victory over enemies, an angel to accompany them, the promised land filled with milk and honey….and after years in the desert, I’m sure this is all they had been dreaming of.

However, God told Moses His presence would not be going with them.

Then things got a little crazy…but I’ll come right back to that.

As I’ve been working on establishing rhythm and balance in this new season of my life, post grad and post wedding, I’ve found some precious time with Jesus. I’ve learned and I’ve felt truth speak to my heart. But I’m not completely abiding, fully present in time with my Abba. I asked myself why I am so hesitant to show up, completely present, in my spaces with God.

“God can be glorified in your suffering, but He can also be glorified in your joy. He can be glorified in your weakness, and He can be glorified in your strength.” (Moore)

When I read over these sentences from Beth Moore, something clicked.

The recent seasons of hurt, struggle, and suffering have left me a bit sore and limping spiritually. I know God is good and I trust Him to grow me and use my weakness for His glory. But the thing I’ve come to realize about this process is that it’s quite painful and exhausting. It’s left me a little nervous. Every time I’ve prayed bold prayers asking for God to awaken my faith, to teach me to abide, to give me bigger faith, to show me what grace means, He has. But it seems the growth is usually accomplished through desperately painful processes that left me broken. The sort of broken that is utterly beautiful only because He is shown mighty in my complete nothingness.

I found myself praying:

“I’m nervous. I long to be close to you but every time I pray bold prayers it seems to lead to suffering. The glory has been and is so worth it, but stepping out of a hard season and a season of waiting into what feels like my promised land—I’m scared to ask you for more stretching just yet.”

I’ve been a little shielded from God because I’m in a place I’ve waited for Him to bring me—A promise land of sorts— and I’m afraid of more growing and stretching because usually it leads to suffering and hurt.

Back to the Moses story. You know what Moses did when God told him that the time for the promised land had come, only His presence wasn’t going? Moses was willing to give up all the blessings he had been promised to remain in the presence of God.

“if your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (Exodus 33:15 NIV).

Moses requested to remain in the dessert if it meant remaining in the presence of God.

You See, Moses had the experience of relationship with the Lord… he had relationship with the presence of God…and understanding this, he knew the void in life without it.

In this morning’s study I was completely convicted by Moses’ willingness to give up all promised blessings to remain in the presence of God.

I know God’s goodness doesn’t always FEEL good, but I need to be so desperate for His presence that I am willing to give up all these awaited blessings just to be with Him.

I’m realizing I need to learn to trust that his glory doesn’t always mean I get hurt… Beth Moore reminded me that ”He can also be glorified in [my] joy…and He can be glorified in [my] strength”. This realization felt like a breath of fresh air.

The pastor that married us recently taught a sermon on God’s favor and bits and pieces kept pulling me back to this post. His three main points were:

1. God shows his favor (blessings)--Look for it!

God loves to bless us, especially in ways that lead to His Glory. We need to keep our eyes out for those blessings--even when they happen to be disguised as hardships. The blessing/favor referred to here is a joy that is most satisfying.

2. As a Heavenly Daddy God gives what is best for us--even if it doesn't always feel good.

God always has our best interest in mind. He loves blessing us in ways only He can, ways that show his glory. .

3. Trusting our Daddy leads to the most satisfying joy.

"How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God...Better is one day in your courts(presence) than a thousand elsewhere" (Psalm 84:1-2, 10 NIV)

I think Moses was on to something. I want to be so addicted to God's presence that I would be willing to completely forego my most anticipated or cherished blessings.

So, here's to being willing to let go of my promised land, trusting that no matter what this next season has in store God has my best in mind. I'm ready to tear down the walls I've built and release the fear/lie that God can only be glorified through hardships. I want to cling to God's presence in desperation. I want to look for God's blessings in the ordinary and mundane. I want to anticipate God's glory in the celebrations, in the blessings, and in the happiness. I pray that God is glorified in both the valleys AND the Mountaintops of my life.

In this season, when our physical dwelling place is ever-changing, may we find home in the presence of God. Because a single day in God's presence is better than a thousand days anywhere else--even the promised land. I pray for the satisfying joy that comes from abiding in the presence of God and that He is glorified through it and whatever comes.

Works Cited Moore, Beth. The Quest: an Excursion toward Intimacy with God. LifeWay Press, 2017.


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