tabernacle 4

I like the comfortable places in life. I like knowing God’s blessings and feeling his peace and joy. It is easy for me to be obedient and positive when I’m getting my way and I can see God’s plan working like I want it to. I intentionally try to avoid the hard, painful places in life.

 The problem is that our relationship with God is not about getting our way or avoiding the hard parts of life. God calls us to follow him even when we can’t see the path and obey him even when we don’t like the plan.

 God rescued his people from the slavery of Egypt and led them into the desert. The people wanted to immediately move from being abused to being in charge. They wanted the abundance and blessings God could provide, but they were less interested in knowing the God who provided them. So God required that they spend time in the wilderness before they got to the Promised Land. They had to build a Tabernacle in the desert so that God could dwell among them, so that they could learn to know him, so that they could worship him. What they learned in the wilderness prepared them for victory in the Promised Land. Their time in the desert was God’s plan for their ultimate good, not punishment or accident.

 My times of wilderness are not punishment or accident either. When I find myself in the desert places of my life, I can choose to “do time” there until that time is done. I can feel sorry for what I don’t have; I can wallow in the pain or the frustration of what I’m facing; I can resent the God who won’t do what I want him to. OR I can build a tabernacle. I can intentionally make a holy space for God to dwell in the midst of what I’m facing and feeling and allow his power transform my situation into his presence.

 When they built a tabernacle, they got to use their gifts to honor God. They came to know the holiness of one who wanted to dwell with his people. They saw God’s glory, and it led them to worship. And when they did, their wilderness was transformed into a holy place.

 I need to “build a tabernacle” more often. I need to give God space to help me see him and trust him no matter what my circumstances look like.

 May we use our talents to serve the One who wants to dwell with us…even on the hard, frustrating, painful days. And may we intentionally create space to know the holy presence of the Almighty God who seeks relationship with us and wants to transform our wilderness into a holy place.