A Tabernacle experience I didn’t have

Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. For He bruises but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole” (Job 5:17&18)

I have had an extraordinary night. It is after 2am in the morning but I felt I must write about it. Over the last few days I have been very busy with many people in my life who are in need. It feels like I have been rushing from one thing to another. Tonight I was at my father’s house with my husband and our boys having dinner. I dropped my husband and children off there first and went to a family who lived close by. They are an Aboriginal family who I worked with as their counsellor over the last 2 years. I still see them when they need support even though I don’t work at the workplace I was at. I dropped my family at my father’s and went to see them. The woman who was my client had her birthday yesterday and had communicated to me that she needed a “yarn” (talk). I had advocated to child protection just a year ago that this woman get custody of her daughter who was self harming in a small Aboriginal community in Western Australia. The daughter had come to live with her mother and I stood in awe of God as I watched Him provide for them. Not only had I seen them access housing; God had provided a scholarship for schooling for the daughter at a very prestigious girls grammar school in an expensive area of Melbourne. I watched the young woman blossom and excel in drama. More excitingly, Jesus sparked a fire in their hearts and over the year, I watched on as they become passionate lovers of Him. I worked very closely with them and got to know their stories of past trauma very intimately. It seemed God was replacing trans-generational cycles of drug and alcohol abuse, family violence, sexual abuse and trauma with healing, reconciliation, “a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). But tonight, I sat down with the woman for a cuppa (cup of tea) and she told me that her 17 year old had something to tell me. The daughter told me that she is going to have a baby-resulting from their returning home over Christmas and to an old boyfriend. I spent most of the next hour listening to their plans, fears, their concerns, embarrassment and stories about what Jesus has been showing them. Interestingly, I had felt the Holy Spirit tell me that the daughter was involved with sexual sin the week before when I went to pick them up from the airport. Despite the ‘warning’ my heart was still heavy with the news of her pregnancy. It seemed they had come so far and that this was a major setback. We prayed together and I left them to return to my dad’s house where my family was.

My dad, step mother and their 3 teenage children were also at my dad’s when I arrived. Not long after I had finished eating my dinner (that had gone cold waiting for me to return) my 17 year old sister approached me, asking me if I would like to go into the city to watch the Australia Day fireworks. My 19 year old sister Rachael and some of her friends were also attending. I knew in a moment that there was a ‘rightness’ about me going with them but soon that small ‘yes’ in my spirit was drowned out with pictures of crowds in the city, my busy previous days and thoughts of the next few days that will also be busy. It is rare that my sister asks much of me at all and I could feel her eyes on me as I looked down to give my answer. She really wanted me to come and as I said ‘no’ I felt so wise, cocky and ‘aren’t I good for not getting sucked into busyness’.

Along with the news of the pregnancy of the daughter of my Aboriginal friend, in the car on the way home my husband made an innocent joke that triggered a deep pain in me, relating to a burden I have carried for a long time in my heart-to be pregnant with a daughter. A fierce determination rose up in me to get answers from God on this matter. I had carried this burden for a year or more and was ready to hear some solid direction from the Lord- was it supposed to be or not? I wept on the way home and as soon as we were in the door I started getting changed. I had been ‘welcomed’ to use Mark and Helen’s Tabernacle space to be with God and this was the night! It was close to 9pm after I had showered my children and put them to bed, but I was not going to leave that lovely space until God had shed some light on this thing I had been hurting about for so long. The leaving my home and making a journey to a specific place to meet with God, was, to me like a sign to God that I was ‘for real’. I text messaged Helen’s mobile, asking to use the space and didn’t get a reply. I tried to ring and no answer. I told my husband who was in full support of me going and he said “why don’t you drive over there and see what happens- bring your mobile”. When I got there I could see lights on- a good sign they weren’t a sleep, so I gently approached the door and knocked softly. Mark came to the door and explained that when he and Helen had prayed about me coming that night that God had said “no…it’s a timing thing. We didn’t know how to tell you, so decided not to text. It’s a bit awkward now that you’re here, but no. I hope you understand”. I didn’t. I left promptly, feeling so embarrassed and confused “God, what are you doing?” I got home, lay on the couch and waited. Helen had texted me to say ‘sorry’ and it wasn’t until an hour or so later that I was released to text her back “It’s ok”. As I sat there God slowly revealed to me why… The plan I had- to go there and talk to Him about ‘that thing’- wasn’t His plan. His plan for me tonight had been for me to spend time with my sisters. The Holy Spirit reminded me of the moment that He had revealed His desire for me to go with them “Remember that dear one. Remember that feeling.” Tears streamed as I realised I had missed it. I had rationalised away a divine appointment. There were good reasons not to go, but the Holy Spirit wants me to be sensitive to His promptings. I realised I had made a god out of creating space. He revealed to me that there will be days on end that it feels like I have one thing after another, but then there will be days to stop. Do I not trust Him to provide? Am I willing to be manoeuvred by the winds of His seasons? -Some fuller than others.

Had I come home and gone with my plan to pray about my issue and everything had fallen into place, I would have failed to be aware of that particular moment that I quenched the Holy Spirit -and most likely would have continued to do so… and might still? (Please God, no). I know if Mark and Helen had not prayed and chose to let me use that space, I would have met with God. -Because He is in there. But I could imagine I may have been so caught up in the love of who He is and dwelling in His presence in ‘my’ way-the way I wanted to, that I probably would have completely missed his point about timing and about what He actually had planned for me to do tonight- being with my sisters. I submit this to you; don’t assume God wants you in the Tabernacle. Ask Him first (or you might get embarrassed!) “I do want to speak with you about that thing. But just not tonight. There was another thing for you to do.” Also, Tabernacle is a space for God, so don’t be with Him there for what He can do for you. Be with Him for what you can do for/to Him. Don’t approach Tabernacle to get answers or to get anything- or with any other agenda (unless He gives you one).

Firstly tonight, He was showing me that I need to trust my ability to hear His voice, despite the circumstances that may be opposed to His direction. I tried to go to sleep a couple of hours ago but God has kept peeling the layers off the onion that is my soul and showing me more about the significance of what happened tonight! Last night, our 3 year old had woken up in the middle of the night and Daniel and I had got into an argument. Tired out, I had said to him: “I do want to speak to you about it but just not now”. It was a timing thing. God had given me an insight into how He feels, so secondly He was also showing me that He has prepared me for this night. He showed me a dream I had of Helen last week, on Thursday night. We were on a busy street outside an ATM and she was telling me “I won’t do to you what others have done” she hugged me and I knew that she was talking about rejection. Thirdly, God was shining light on brokenness that remains in me, that still needs healing. -Brokenness from my family of origin. -Remnants of anger and jealousy of my dad’s family from his second marriage. Anger left behind that maybe helped me to feel good about rejecting my sister’s request to go with them tonight- my opportunity to have power (cringe). There is so much God is showing me. He is doing a major clean up work in me. I’m weeping. It hurts, but I trust Him. He is a good Dad and He disciplines those He loves. It’s with this softness and humility that I will next approach my God in the Tabernacle- the place He dwells.

One Response to “A Tabernacle experience I didn’t have”

  1. sarah k Says:

    thanks for sharing this experience. it really encouraged me!

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