Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 84. (MsgB)
What a beautiful home, God-of-the-Angel-Armies! I’ve always longed to live in a place like this, always dreamed of a room in Your house, where I could sing for joy to God-alive!
One day spent in Your house, this beautiful place of worship, beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches. I’d rather scrub floors in the house of my God than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin.
So where do you wanna live when you grow up?
I recall the time when I graduated from college. I had just received my degree in music education from the University of Iowa and I was determined to find a band-directing job in Colorado. If you recall my blog back on Psalm 48, you know that as a kid from the heartland, I truly loved the Rocky Mountains. My trips there during summer vacations were nothing short of heaven on earth. So with relatives living in Denver, I figured now that I had grown up and graduated, this was my big chance to settle in right next to those beautiful mountains I loved so much.
During spring break-1972, I did my very best to schedule some teaching interviews. I took a train to Denver, rented a car, and hit the road, working diligently to convince some unsuspecting school administrator to give me a chance at their next junior high or high school band director opening. I had a couple of nibbles and was hopeful as I returned home to Iowa. But alas, nothing ever came of my efforts. As one rejection letter after another began coming in, my long-time dream of living in Colorado was dashed. What I didn’t know then was that God had other plans for me, giving me a band-director job in the Chicago area. There I would eventually meet my fantastic wife, have four wonderful kids, and receive my call to ministry. Would all of those things happened to me if I would have been living in Denver? Who knows? But today’s Psalm reminds me of those days so long ago when I longed to live in a place that I held so dearly in my heart. Today, 40 years later, my heart longs for yet another destination so much sweeter than the front range of the Rocky Mountains.
As the Psalmist sings out, I want to be at home with my Father. Live in His House. Reside in His presence. Dwell in His sanctuary. My digs be His heart. My room located in His mansion. I don’t care if it is a fancy place. It can be a hole-in-the-wall for all I care. A fixer-upper. A room with no TV. No pool. No pets. No cigarettes. It just doesn’t matter to me anymore. As long as my room is on God’s property, I’ll be satisfied. As long as I can look out the window and see Him, I’ll be A-OK.
So where do you wanna live when you grow up?
Oh yeah, the Greek island beaches sound nice. Some people dream of heaven as being the best 36-hole golf course in the universe. Others see it as a fluffy cloud where angels play harps and we float around all day having every whim and desire we can think of answered.
As I see it, Jesus has been working all along putting together a special place that has His fingerprints all over it. A customized room that compliments all those special gifts He places within us. A place where His presence is the key component. A home that reflects His heart for me. A place of peace yet a productive office that accommodates the work of Christ that remains to be done in and through my life.
Some think of heaven as being a place of rest and relaxation. A place where we recoup from a lifetime of struggles and hardships. But my mentor, John Wimber, saw it differently. John used to say that everything down here is just practice and the real game starts on the other side. In other words, my room in heaven will be a place of where God and I really get to work on the master plans He has for my life. No sitting on a cloud, playing a harp for millions of years, but a hand-in-hand adventure that lasts forever. In God’s presence, you see, is eternity. An unchartered future with limitless possibilities with a timeless God.
So exciting and wonderful, it will make my days longing to live near the Rocky Mountains like hoping I could live in the underground bowels of the New York City sewer system. Too graphic, you say? I think not.
Better is one day in Your courts, Lord, than living as the king pin of Las Vegas! Call me silly, but Home Sweet Home is calling my name. I’m comin’ Lord, as fast as I can!
My prayer: Father, I want You to know that I’m just fine with anything You put together for me on the other side. As long as You’ve created it, I know it will be a perfect fit for who You’ve made me to be. I look forward to seeing it, Lord. Walking with You, being at home with my Creator is a longing that grows stronger in me as every day down here goes by. See you soon, Lord. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So what does dwelling permanently in the presence of God really mean? How have I allowed mis-conceptions of heaven to cloud the way I live down here? Am I, like the Psalmist, actually preferring God to lead me to where I should live or am I working way too hard at trying to manipulate my life so I can choose what’s best for me instead?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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