Yesterday, we looked at Psalm 27 and talked about David’s pause, mid-thought, of a place where there are no worries, fears or sadness. Guess I’m still in that moment today. Life is good. Life is hard. I can count 100 blessings, but it’s the struggles that drain me. We muddle through moments of angst, and do what we have to do, but I also relate to David in letting my mind wander to a place where it’s just God and me.
Only there can I shed my coat, like a weary traveler, set my bags down and exhale. Only there can I take off all of the hats I wear every day and wipe the sweat from my brow. Only there can I slump into a chair and rest my head on the table, knowing God will meet me at the table with a glass of cold water and a warm smile. Only there can I sit in utter silence with no worries of filling in conversation. Only there the dirt my shoes tracked in doesn’t matter, and the familiar smells of home infuse my thinking. I’m only His child there. Not wife, mother, friend or worker. I am His child and sit in His house. It’s safe. Quiet. Peaceful.
Everything I need is there. Moreover, who I am there is enough. I’m not responsible for anyone else’s happiness there; I’m not a problem-solver; I’m not a worker bee. I’m just me, and evidently God is okay with that because He hasn’t asked me to be anyone else, nor has He made me feel inadequate for my shortcomings.
In His house, I find my special room. It’s simple. A bed, a nightstand and soft linens. A window for light and a door for privacy. There, I crawl under the covers and rest my head on the pillow. I close my eyes knowing He watches out for me. I sleep while He spreads His wings over me and shelters me with the mere palm of His hand. There is nowhere else on earth I can go to rest like in God’s house. He intercepts all that calls for my attention. I am untouchable and unreachable.
God travels with us in our lives. Therefore, His house is never far away. I can find it at the beach, in my own house, in the city, the country, on the Mara, on the subway, under an old tree and on the river. I can also find it in the desert.
People often associate the desert as a harsh, barren, cursed plot of ground. It offers neither shelter nor basic needs easily and seems to delight in making accommodations as unpleasant as possible.
Spiritually, people associate the desert with dry times in their life. Whether it’s not hearing God, not feeling the Christian life or feeling alone, the desert is what our mind’s eye goes to, to describe what we feel.
I think there is yet another way to look at the desert, and David does, too.
He is all over the map in Psalm 55. He begs God to hear and answer his prayer (v1). His thoughts trouble him (v2), the enemy and wicked taunt him (v3). His heart is in anguish (v4). Fear and trembling overwhelm him (v5). Then verses 6-8 appear. Like a break in a storm, where the rain and wind stop and the sun shines – even if briefly –
I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest—
7 I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
8 I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm. ”
What a beautiful metaphor! In the desert, where is the storm and tempest? In the desert, we can be alone. Therefore, we can rest. Our place of shelter is God’s house, right in the middle of nothing. When we are walking in our desert and view endless miles of nothingness, it is very easy to spot God’s house. It sticks out against the monochromatic backdrop of sand and sun.
His house is harder to find in lush jungles, crowded cities or bustling suburbs – whether these are tangible obstacles we face or intangible only in our hearts and minds.
Perhaps the desert is just the landscape we need to find God’s house. It is not a mirage, rather it is a promise to His children.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Are you a weary traveler? Do you need rest? Look for God’s house. It’s never farther than a prayer away.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4