Ever Dwelling, Ever Indwelt

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I attended a funeral this morning—another one. They seem all too frequent these days. And while this one was again a triumphant celebration of a life well-lived and the assurance of a glorious meeting with Jesus, it was still a sad event. For those left behind even the promise of a "some day" reunion comes wrapped in the black ribbon of grief. I spoke with another friend who just days ago lost her grandson and leaves soon for yet another funeral. There are no words for that kind of pain...

...except His words.

Battered by circumstances and emotions beyond his control, David writes: "...in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock" (Psalm 27:5).

Just prior to this verse David asks a favour of the Lord. He says: "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple" (27:4).

In the margin in my Bible, in light green ink which I can hardly read, is something I wrote many years ago. I wrote: "We can be in His dwelling wherever we are." David obviously did not believe that he could spend all his years in a cloister alone with God, and neither can I. So the idea of dwelling in God's house all his days has a meaning beyond being in a physical place.

We understand that God dwells in believers though His Holy Spirit. But while He dwells in us, we also dwell or abide in Him. That was what Jesus told His disciples the night before He went to the cross.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing...so remain in my love...and bear fruit..." (John 15:5, 10, 16).

Like conjoined twins, He and we dwell together. The result is, for us, the security of being able to weather any storm and to know beyond any doubt that we have a safe refuge to run to. There is much more than four walls and a fortified door contemplated here in this "dwelling." There is a sense of embrace. God not only protects and surrounds us in difficult circumstances but the space that He encircles is both big as well as small. Big and strong enough to protect and uphold, but also small enough to cocoon us, to hold us close. It's like a cathedral and one of those tiny roadside chapels rolled into one.

He in me and I in Him. I don't have words for that—not today, and possibly never.

But today, in the face of sadness and loss, or whatever is happening in your life, hold on to David's words as inspired by God: "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord" (Psalm 27:13, 14).

He is merciful enough to come and live in our "shacks" and out of those shacks He delights to make a beautiful sanctuary where He and we can dwell together.

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