It was simply titled “There”, but it was one of the most powerful sermons I’d heard. The piece of paper on which I jotted the notes and main points is limp now, for each of the years that have passed since I first heard the sermon have proved to make the message it contained more relevant all the time.
It was a sermon about being There, right where God has asked us to be. It’s not always where we think we want to be, and most certainly not always the place that makes sense to us as humans, but being There is the only place we should be.
For Noah, there was preaching an apparently foolish sermon about something that had never happened before. There was to build a boat- a living testimony to his faith. There was to endure ridicule, reproach, to be called crazy and out of his mind for One Hundred and Fifty years. There was to wait in that arch until God opened the door. Not stepping out a moment sooner, not a moment later than God’s will for him and his family.
For Moses, there was in the palace of the king of Egypt. The king who was cruel to his people and hated his God. There was living the lonely and humble life of a shepherd for forty years, and there was standing in the palace and at the risk of everything, delivering the message to set God’s people free.
For Joseph, there was a servant in the house of a stranger, doing his very best only to be unjustly accused and thrown in to prison. There was then to serve God- and his superiors faithfully, no matter how long and tedious those years must’ve felt.
For Esther, there was in the palace of a heathen king, as Queen – for “such a time as this”- risking her life to save her people.
For Elijah, there was beside the little brook of Cherith, relying on Ravens to bring him food, and trusting that the little brook wouldn’t dry up, until God led him on.
There for him and for each one of these great bible heroes was right where God wanted them to be, and there is right where we need to be, no matter what.
Over the years, the lines from that sermon have often echoed in my heart when the place God asked me to be didn’t always feel so comfortable, didn’t always make sense to me, or so very beautiful as I thought I wanted, and again when I’ve caught glimpses of why He put me right there after all. And I’ve jotted my own notes under the outlines of the sermon, filling in the things that I have learned, that am always learning as I seek to truly be There. Right in the place that He has put me for today. No where else, just right there.
Truly, “the path where God leads the way may lie through the desert or the sea, but it is a safe path.”
May these little notes serve to encourage you in your “there” to be faithful, and to trust Him who makes all things beautiful in His time.
There is a place of perplexity. Sometimes I don’t know why God put me here. It’s uncomfortable, uncertain, and sometimes seems so far from where I want to be, or even where I think I should be right now. But if He puts me there, be there, no matter how perplexing or uncertain it seems, because I know that He knows what He’s doing. He sees the big picture, while I’m only catching a glimpse of the moment I’m in.
There is a place of promise. Our God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we ask or even imagine. No matter what There looks like, if we remain, trusting Him, He promises to make all things clear in His time, that we shall not lack any good thing, that He will be faithful. His word is full of promises to us, and the honor of His throne stands behind the fulfillment of those promises.
There is a place of providence. God has a plan, a beautiful plan for working out His purpose in our life. In our limited human vision, this is not often clear to us, but there is no chance in being there where He has asked us to be- just His promises, His providence. When we step out in faith, right there in the line of duty, providence meets us, and His way, His plans are always perfect.
There is a place of provision. God has more than a thousand ways to provide for every single one of our needs. He has promised to provide for us, and He will be faithful to that promise. If we choose our own place, instead of being There where He has called us, no matter how humble of a there it might be, God’s hand may still protect us, but His provision is not what it would have been or could have been had we faithfully remained there in his will.
There is a place of protection. While we are there, in His will, we will be under His care, even in the very path of danger. “The path where God leads the way may lie through the desert or through the sea, but it is a safe path.” Whatever happens there, God is in control and He will not allow anything to happen that is not according to His will, but we must never leave God’s appointed there for any other place, for no other place is as safe as right there where He wants us to be.
There is a place of prayer. Asking God to give us the good gifts that His word says that are ours for the asking, asking for his blessings on others, asking Him to take care of tomorrow, and to give us strength for today. Thanking Him for what He has done, and will do. Sharing with Him as your Friend and Confidant.
There is a place of praise. Praise God for his provision, protection, providence and for the promises that He has fulfilled. “Let His praise be continually on your lips.” We ask often for His blessings, as we should, but how little time we spend in praising Him and thanking Him for the great things that He has done. As we focus our eyes on the blessings He daily has poured out on us in this place, our heart will be overflowing with thanksgiving. Instead of “give me…” and “give me…” or “do this….” or “do that…”, the language of our heart becomes “Thank you”, “Thank you”, “Thank you”.
There is a place of patience. God has sent us there, and if “the brook of Cherith dries up”, if the door of the ark doesn’t open immediately, if the sun is still hiding behind those clouds, wait patiently on His plan, His time, His provision. No matter what appearances may say, stay there until He makes a way. “If there ever was a time for patient trust, it is right now” when you feel the least like waiting. Trust in his purposes, even when they do not make sense.
There is a place of peace. If you are there- in His will- you will have peace of mind and heart. If you are not there, you cannot have true peace or rest. “There” could be in a den of lions, in a fiery furnace, in a ship lost at sea, or in the middle of the most devastating of circumstances, but peace between your soul and God is there because peace is a gift that only God can give. And it is a gift that He delights to give those that trust in His will. It does not mean that there will never be any struggles, or that you will not have to keep putting your heart and mind back into the hands of God, but when you do this, the peace will come.
There is a place of privilege. It is a privilege to be There. Right there in God’s will, right there where He has called us to be. To be a part of His great plan is a privilege, and an honor that we should cherish. All of His instructions are a privilege, and more than a privilege, a joy for those who love Him to obey. And for each thing that He calls us to, He gives us strength and grace in great measure to accomplish. In light of this, why do we complain when there isn’t how we think it should be, when it is a place so filled with privileges and blessings?