Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

It started this morning, out in the yard with my morning coffee. One of my "collared" Facebook friends wrote on her status update...

(Facebook friend) is preaching on Psalm 84:1, How lovely/amiable/dear is your tabernacle/dwelling-place. Where do you experience God abiding?

I realized something for the first time. I am just now learning to see God abiding in "the hard places." It is almost a month after my Very Big Decisions regarding my work environment. I am starting to see that although there were many things that were not perfect about that decision, and whether it is good or bad is yet to be revealed, there IS a peace with it now that transcends everything I ever worried about with it. It does not mean "I got what I wanted." It is not exactly playing out the way I envisioned it. But there is a peace with it, anyway.

What it has taught me is to, rather than focus on the tumult, to focus on seeing God IN the tumult, much like the disciples in the boat in the storm learning to "focus on Jesus."

It is so easy to get trapped in the drama of "tumult". Like a grand Missouri thunderstorm, there is a "dangerous excitement" to it. Conflicting desires to "run from the storm and take cover," "watch it from a distance and feel its power," or "feel the victory of having weathered it," all emerge from it. But that is not what should be the center of it. The center should be on "our Godly dwelling place." Sometimes it is in the physical confines of the church. Sometimes it is in our back yard, with a cup of coffee. Sometimes it resides in the pits of our deepest personal fears, our loneliness, our sense of abandonment. Sometimes it resides in the smiles of others. Sometimes it resides in those gifts of serendipity, where you neither felt you deserved nor expected anything good to happen to you. Sometimes it resides in feeding the belly of a homeless person, or tearing wet, dirty, moldy insulation out of a house that was flooded.

How lovely IS your dwelling place, O Lord...wherever it may be.


I believe God IS in the chaos - not the still water. The stormy waters that Jesus stills, the parted Red Sea. Still waters grow stagnant.

Yet this is ironic given my desperate need for quiet solitude.

However, what I think it means is that even in the world the more holy "spots" are out there in the chaos - not in the neat, tidy, dogma of a straight-laced middle class congregation - but in the teeming starving masses struggling day to day for survival.

God isn't in the pious, unquestioning, closed mind - God is in the doubtful mind that constantly questions that which man has claimed in God's name.

God is not a pat easy answer presented as an absolute - God is in the midst of the paradoxical, no right answer, compromise that is always reevaluated.

God is not comfortable - God is incredibly uncomfortable...that is why we are challenged to love our enemies.

Wow! Maria, you provoked quite a reaction there, thanks.

I've been getting the message in a number of ways that God doesn't promise life will be easy; he just promises to be there with us. Sometimes I forget to look for him, but he's there.



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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