I have always looked forward to going home. During my college years and forever afterwards I loved the moment when I could pop my suitcase into the trunk, hop into my car and head home. I was going back to the place, to the person I loved. There was nothing like that feeling of going home.
My mother was always there, consistently ready with a pot of hot tea served with a side of her gentle presence. This was a safe quiet place where I could share my thoughts and express my fears. We laughed and cried while I rested up after a heavy load of studying. She was unfailingly happy to receive me and to be with me, without judgement or the need to control. We spent many happy hours around that round dining table in her humble abode.
Even though I always cried when saying good bye to my mom, I headed back to school equipped and ready to face what ever was coming next. Her generous hospitality was healing and strengthening.
Psalm 91:1 tells me that “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."
When I think of this shelter of God’s I get the image of my mother’s house: safe and inviting. God lives in this place of rest, where I have been invited to move in to live with him, and to find relief. This is where He is and whenever I stop and sit down, I find Him there. He’ll have his “cup of inviting tea” ready, hot and already poured. It is in this place where I find myself to be understood, strengthened, and prepared for the next thing.
I’ve chosen DWELL as my 2017 word.
For some reason, I am in need of a safe place this year. I need to know that God is near me and is actively involved with those I love. If I “move in” to his shelter, I have access to the Most High God! It is in this house, this shelter, this safe place that I can find Him and what it is I need to face the coming unknowns with courage. It will be so because I will have talked it all out with Almighty God and He assures me that all will be well.
I often wonder how to actually "do" this dwelling in God’s shelter. Partly I understand it to mean getting up out of bed each morning to read the Bible and to talk with him. But I think it is more than that. It is also worshiping him on Sundays with other believers. It is stopping throughout the day to remember where I live, who lives with and in me. It is halting my incessant thoughts for a moment by glancing out the window to thank him for his amazingly creative work in the natural world and in my life. It is reaching out to fellow travelers in need of a place of hospitality.
Dwelling with God invites me to remember I am never alone. It reminds me that I have access to the One who is everywhere, always. My life becomes a place of growing in faith and being equipping to go out and become that safe place for other weary travelers in need of the same kind of dwelling.
The thought of going home will never lose it’s appeal. It will always bring up tender memories of all that home should be. So it is as I consider dwelling in God’s shelter. He speaks, "Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
That is home. That is where I want to be. Near to God, finding rest for my soul so that I am able to get up and go again, full of all that is needed to live the life I've been called to.
Have you chosen a word for 2017? I’d love to find it in my comments.