I live in the country in an early 1970’s ranch built out of concrete blocks. It is cold but has some redeeming qualities; mainly its location, perched atop a hill in the middles of orchards and agriculture. I’m grateful for it most of the time but today I am caught up in the stench of a dead something flowing through the heating vents. From the outside looking in, no one would know there was a horrible smell in my house, but open the door or turn on the heat. . . you get the picture. It stinks! I need professional help to exterminate or extract whatever is causing this headache of an odor.
This morning I was reading Psalm 96:7-8, that says:
Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts.
There has been a distance between the Lord and I because he’s been poking at some tender character defects in my life. This morning I wanted to reorder my day to include more time with him, to organize my thoughts and feelings and align them with his truth. Then the heat comes on in the middle of my prayer time and that stench demanded my attention. It drew me away from bringing an offering of worship and coming into his courts, as the Psalmist describes. In the midst of my acknowledging this self-created distance, recognizing my resistance to his probing, the heat comes on and . . .
God gave me a glimpse not only into the distance between my offering of stench and the sweet aroma he desires, but the stench has power to distract me from being fully present with him.
What’s your stench? Do you need to do some house cleaning? Do you need to call a professional? Do you need some extended alone time with God? Here’s what I know about stenches, sure they ultimately go away, but the place the rodents get in needs to be fixed so the problem does not continue. Ignoring God’s probing, even denying or delaying may feel safer or easier but stench cannot product the sweet aroma of entering his courts with an offering of praise and worship.
There is a great opportunity coming up here in the Central Valley for just such a day. He has faithfully met me each time I intentionally set this time aside. Check out, Press Pause Ministries “Be Still” Day Retreat, February 6, 2016, 9 AM-4 PM, 5153 Santa Fe Ave. Oakdale CA 95361-8251. http://www.presspauseministries.com/ . If you not in the area, there are great resources on Jon’s website to create your own unhurried day to be alone with God.
Another great resource for identifying your stench is Andy Stanley’s Book, Enemies of the Heart, Breaking Free from the Four Emotions that Control You. http://store.northpoint.org/enemies-of-the-heart.html
Happy house cleaning . . . .