Friday, September 11, 2009

Fill My Presence with Your Presence

I have been invited to write a week of devotionals for the 2011 Upper Room Disciplines. They are based on the lectionary for a week in October. Here is one.

Tuesday, October 11 – Read Exodus 33:12-17

I vividly remember anxieties welling up in me when I was sent as a denominational missionary to start a new church. “Where do I start? What if I fail?” Perhaps the most urgent question on my heart was, “Who can I find to help me?”

I suppose this gives me a partial glimpse of the anxiety Moses had when charged with the daunting task of leading God’s people into the Promised Land. No wonder he starts a friendly argument with God. His fear of “going it alone” is valid. God has called them stiff-necked, told them to go on into the Promised Land, and does not plan to accompany them. “Now take off your ornaments and I will decide what to do with you.” (33:5, NIV).

Yet Moses faithfully visits the tent of meeting, approaching God like a friend. He becomes the hero of intercessors everywhere. Moses gently persists, "You have been telling me, 'Lead these people,' but you have not let me know whom you will send with me” (NIV). Like so many wo are called to step out on faith, Moses has no idea how to make it happen without some help.

Maybe Moses was asking for a few assistants, but I am guessing he hoped God had something else in store for him. God seemingly has a change of mind, promising that God’s very presence will go with him.

One secret to developing a heart of gratitude is that we don’t wait for something to be happy about. We stretch ourselves and claim the blessings of God’s presence in every situation, no matter how lonely we may feel. Eventually, we might hear the same voice speak to us as it did to Moses. "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." (NIV)

Join me in my breath prayer, breathing this prayer many times during the course of the day: “Lord, fill my presence with your presence.”