We had left our position as assistant pastors at a church on the beautiful southern coast of Oregon. The house was all packed up. We had completed our farewell service, and checked into a motel for the night. Our girls, a toddler and two young ones in elementary school, were sound asleep in the bed next to us. But husband and I were wide awake in our bed...wide awake and crying. What in the world were we doing, leaving this place we loved, this church we loved, these people we loved? And for the next four months we wondered and wandered, not understanding God leading us out, without making it clear what He was leading us to. And that's when Psalm 84 became personal and real to me. Not just the Word, logos, but the Word, rhema, the Word became a now word for me, to me, personally.
1 How lovely is Your tabernacle,
O LORD of hosts!
(For Your dwelling place is my true home O God, and you are the True Love that I long for.)
2 My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the LORD;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
(When I feel empty, when I feel dissatisfied with my life, it is really You that I need.
For You alone are the answer to the longings and desires of my heart.)
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
My King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
(The cry of One Thing...that I may dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 27:4)
They will still be praising You. Selah
5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
(Not to a physical place...but a pilgrimage to You...to Your heart. Your heart is my true home Oh God!)
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
(This is the valley of weeping...God make my place of weeping a place of revelation, a place of spirititual refreshing. I choose to dig a well in my place of weeping...now fill it Lord, fill it.)
They make it a spring;
The rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength;
(Strength to strength, daily strength, strength to put one step in front of the other and to keep walking.)
Each one appears before God in Zion.
8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
9 O God, behold our shield,
And look upon the face of Your anointed.
10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
(So true! No good thing, no beneficial thing, has He withheld from me!)
12 O LORD of hosts,
Blessed is the man who trusts in You!
(Again today, I place my trust in You. I believe You God. I trust You God.)
We spent that whole fall staying with family and friends. And then the holidays came and we still had no open door for a place of ministry or a home. We were not going to have a home of our own for Christmas. But God was so faithful. We saw His miraculous provision in a personal way, and family and friends made sure our holidays were special. Right after the new year we moved into a little white parsonage,right next to the church that we would pastor for the next several years. And yet, over 20 years later, my pilgrimage continues...my journey to His heart, to knowing Him better, more intimately, my journey to trusting Him more, to really dwelling in Him and He in me. And all along the path, His Word has been my song, my sustenance, my strength. (Psalm 119:54)