Friday, March 31, 2017
Shelter in place
...in the place which the LORD will choose,
to make His name dwell there.
Deuteronomy 16. 2
As I contemplated the day before me, and sought the LORD in His Word early this morning, this verse popped out to me in the first couple of sentences I read. A good reminder, I thought. Where should I go today? What should I do?
I had underlined those words before. As we were raising our family, we were like a nomadic tribe as my husband was transferred to many places for his job. There were dates jotted down in the margin. One date from 1987 had the words next to it "news of another move." I remember that place. At that time, I could not wait to get to the next location. I guess I had claimed this verse in anticipation of pulling up our stakes yet again. A new place? Sure, LORD, when do we go? I'm ready. Get out the moving boxes.
As I thought about that date, I realized that in real time, we did not move for another two years from then. I was ready to go, but God was not. He had other purposes in mind.
And this morning, as I continued to read the chapters in front of me, I read the same words again and again and again, as if God was making sure that I didn't miss them. Indeed, the same phrase appeared nine times in two chapters.
A Bible teacher once pointed out to me that when the same word or phrase is repeated two or three times in a short passage, God means to highlight these words: Don't miss this. But repeated NINE times? Did I get what God was saying yet?
As I wrote out the verse in my journal this morning to engrave it into my mind and my day, I thought about where God wanted me to go and where He was leading me, "the place where He will choose."
And the thought stopped me cold, "Why do I always think that is someplace else?"
I am thinking about going. God is talking about dwelling.
"Shelter in place" is a term that is used in light of danger and disasters, such as finding a refuge in the face of an impending storm or tornado. Don't go anywhere. Stay right where you are. Stop focusing on another place, the next thing, that other pasture, what someone else is doing.
Dwell here. Not just in my physical location, but in my mind, my heart, my attitudes, my vision. And wherever I find myself today, as Henri Nouwen once wrote, "Bring the name of Jesus there."
God has deep purposes right where I am, His faithfulness all over it.
help me not be distracted from the present
by what is yet to come.
Fulfill your plans for me
right where I am today.
Shelter in place.