I recently started journaling again, and it has been a sweet time. Taking a moment to reflect on the day prior is a great way to quickly see Gods activity being played out in my life. As Christians (I speak for myself) it seems we have this preconceived notion that if we just read various biblical texts, pray in a certain way, the God of the heavens will show up in our bedroom with a display of glorious light and power. Maybe this has been the experience of some, and I don't doubt that in the least! It would seem though, that I have been met most often, taking a step, creating a space in my life for God to speak to me. For some of us at that moment would need to be 'carved' as quiet times have been few and far between and then when they have occurred, they have been frustratingly empty.
One of my passions is the Old Testament. I connect with the stories and the struggles of men and women that came long before me. Their collective journeys led them through times of immense pain or even worse... waiting. Emerging from the myriad of biblical testimonies of encounters with God (or attempts) these two spoke to me.
Genesis 11- We see a people that sought by their own power to build a kingdom apart from God. This manifested itself in a building that touched the 'sky' some 90 meters above the ground. Their rebellious ambitions were thwarted, as the God of heaven came down to see what they were up to. Man in building the tower sought, by sheer effort to bridge the gap between heaven and earth, offering up thoughtless sacrifices, sufficing a vain god's need of attention and harnessing the deities blessing....
Contrast Genesis 11 to Exodus 19:20
The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up....
Quite different to the language used during the Bable episode. Here we see that God is already present
and Moses prepares with the expectation of encountering God. The God we see in both accounts isn't interested in shallow sacrifices, but desires to be known in a real way by his creation.
I at times have approached morning devotions as a way to harness gods blessing for the day, without much thought of having a genuine encounter with him. Then the realization comes when he meets me that it's much less about me laying down my 'sacrafice' of sleep as it is a chance to meet him face to face. When that thought process gives way, and the expectation becomes seeing him, we realize that it is really to our benefit. Moses set aside whatever it was he was doing, simply creating the opportunity to meet God- he didn't do anything extravagant to warrant the visit (like appease god with fruit or vegetables), then the God of all creation met him on Sinai. I love that.
Maybe that doesn't speak to you, but possibly Tiffany Mannings recent venture can though. After months of waiting and prayer, God met her in a huge way (as he met me) with the blessing of financial support and a visa! She didn't pray "special prayers," but frequently and in true Tiffany Manning form, with passion. She consistently shared her story with others(sharing before it had all worked out, reminding everyone that she sought His will and that if this trip to Papua New Guinea was in His plans for her it would be blessed.), chronicling the journey (period of waiting) through email etc. Her story of Gods provision won't be soon forgotten, and He is glorified!
I love reading how God promises a man something, then it's fulfilled. Everytime. Without fail. The God of the Bible is a God that faithfully provides for his creation. Without remembering that scope of history, it can make the times of waiting unbearable. As I recount how faithful God has been to me, writing that down will help me through the times of struggle. My hope is that is shifts the focus off myself in the momentary situations, and back to God overall plan of redemption to his world. God wants all of his creation to see him face to face, not to offer meaningless sacrifices, but to know and love him. When we remember what he has done, we meet him face to face. *Meaningless sacrifices not required*