Distractions

At the dedication of the temple, a lot of stuff was happening. There were musicians and singers praising the Lord, the Ark of the Covenant taking its place in the Holy of Holies, and so many offerings to the Lord that they lost count. In the midst of this powerful moment, the Lord showed up (as planned). When he showed up, however, he completely derailed the plan.

At that moment a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord. The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple of God. 2 Chronicles 5:13, 14

As I read this account, I could see myself as a priest in the temple with a great plan and lots of stuff to do for God, but getting irritated by this moment. “I have so much work to do! I’ll never get to the end of my list now! I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!”

I think when I say that I want God to show up, I mean that I’d like for him to appear, pat me on the head, and offer his stamp of approval and clear the path for whatever I’m doing. What it actually looks like is messier, often resembling a distraction that changes the course of the day, sometimes even our lives.

When the Lord showed up in the temple, nothing more needed to be done. The most important thing happened. The temple was now full of the Lord’s presence, which had been the point all along.

As I got into my car a few weeks ago, rushing to a meeting [of course], I heard a song that said, “I’m overwhelmed…” which put a wry smile on my face [“You have no idea!”], but the next line took a 90 degree turn. “I’m overwhelmed by You.” My smile actually grew. There’s something bigger and more overwhelming than my to-do list! If I’m only focusing on the things I’m doing, I can forget the one for whom I’m doing them and with whom I have the strength to persevere. That song reminded me to pause and remember that I needed to shift my gaze, so that I might be overwhelmed in the right way: in worship of Jesus.

My prayer continues to be that I would be overwhelmed by the presence of Jesus. I pray that when distractions and derailments from him arise, that I would respond in awe, not ire.

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