We all seek for those places where we have peace and rest. Even when the going is tough. The Israelites had been led to freedom from slavery in Egypt by Moses and they had gone forward in faith on what was destined to be a long trek from Egypt to the Promised Land. But the journey was difficult and very slow, and here there was no water. That provoked their questioning: “where is God”. “Is the LORD among us or not?”
It took a miracle by God to remind them he was still there.
Do we know where God is? Is the LORD among us or not?
From the earliest days of our lives we’ve had those private places. My space. Maybe it was our bedroom, under the bedclothes with a flashlight! With our secret friend that no one else could see. A quiet spot in the yard, up a tree… a place where we could go and be safe and secret. Only I knew it!
That changed as we grew up and our emotions started to take over. We began to think about God – perhaps we wondered where God was and how could we find him? Did we feel that if we found that quiet spot, God would be there?
Now it might be a quiet valley, or a quiet shore, places where we can feel the beauty of nature at its best.
“O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up”. Psalm 139.
Beautiful words from what is a beautiful Psalm. A Psalm that must have been sung and recited millions of times. It is so personal and it almost has a sense of private. Of a place we can go to be on our own with God.
Psalm 139 is a Psalm which many people use to establish their personal time with God. And it starts in a very personal way, with the recognition that wherever we are and whatever we are doing – we are with God. Isn’t that what we seek so often? To be with God – up close and personal.
And I’m sure we all have our ways of getting into a personal space with God:
A favorite song can move us into that place.
A prayer, prayed especially for us, can touch our hearts and open a door to a place where we feel close to God.
A favorite scripture can move us to that place where we feel safe and at peace with ourselves and the world around us.
How can we describe it? What is it we are trying to find?
- It is a place where we can feel safe with God.
In our society that shouldn’t be too difficult. We might have to seek it out but it is there. Yet at times we struggle to find that peace because of our hectic lives.
- It is a place where we can feel comfortable with God.
Is it difficult to feel comfortable with God. Is that such a strange idea? God the Almighty, God the Creator, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, – is it difficult to feel comfortable with the great God. But never forget the Prodigal Son, who expected to be returning to an angry and disappointed Father to be met instead by the Loving Father. God is our Loving Father and wants us to be comfortable with God.
- It is a place where those barriers of guilt and embarrassment can be left outside and we can be ourselves – frank and honest – with God.
So often our relationships are spoilt by the past. Yes, it can be so difficult to leave the past behind – forgive and forget – but that is what the great gift of God’s forgiveness is all about.
God says we are forgiven and we must move forward. We must leave the past behind. That’s not easy to do, because we remember the past much too clearly, even though we believe God has forgiven us.
That’s why we need to find those private places where we can be with God. No distractions. No disturbances. Just God and Me. Just Me and God.
Think again of those verses from Psalm 139:
7Where can I go from your spirit?
NOWHERE. I CAN NEVER BE SEPARATED FROM GOD.
Or where can I flee from your presence?
NOWHERE. I CAN NEVER SEPARATE MYSELF FROM GOD.
8If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
ALWAYS AND FOREVER I WLL BE WITH GOD.
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
EVEN IN THE DEEPEST DEPRESSION I AM WITH GOD.
9If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
NO MATTER HOW FAR LIFE TAKES ME-
I AM ALWAYS WITH GOD.
10Even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
SO WHEREVER I MAY BE AND WHATEVER I AM DOING,
I AM ALWAYS WITH GOD AND GOD IS ALWAYS WITH ME.