28 June 2009

Home From Bethel

So I got back from my trip at 4am on Wed. morning...long drive. When I came back from MorningStar last year, I think it took me something like three months to process what I’d seen. No, that’s not quite right, I’m still processing parts of that, but it took me three months to write anything. I was just dumbfounded. This trip to Bethel was in some ways less dramatic, in many ways far more personal and in the end...somehow more familiar. Which leads me to be writing so soon.

I want to say something outright that people were asking me about last year, the idea that we should have to go to a specific place to see God really rubs some people the wrong way, but that response is simply pride wrapped up in religious happy talk. Every story in the Bible, and every story since then, happens in a specific place at a specific time. To see where God is moving is easy and any child could do it. To be offended that He’s not moving at your house and refusing to go meet Him is arrogance. I always hear it go something like this, “If God wants to heal/speak to me, I shouldn’t have to go to Israel/Bethel/the corner revival tent. He can move right here just as well as He can move there.” Of course the sentence is true in it’s factual assertion but it presumes that God should go out of His way to seek you instead of me going out of my way to seek Him. It’s a feeling that accepts God only on my terms instead of His and the result is like a kid who wont go out to the ice cream truck until it parks in front of his house...it might happen, but in the mean time you’re missing a lot of good ice cream.

More to the point for some though is something Jesus said, “A prophet is not without honor except in his home town.” There is something very good that happens in out hearts when we open up to the value of a pilgrimage. Among other things, the value of a pilgrimage lies in the way it asks us to step through the ‘veil of inconvenience’ and follow hard after God in a very deliberate and practical way. It also makes a crystal-clear picture of the old saw that the journey is the point of life and not the destination. Regardless of where God is or isn’t, each time I take one of these trips I have my heart open and expecting in a way that is almost impossible to be at home where everything is familiar.

Anyway, I guess I’d just say that I would recommend this kind of journey to anybody, and if you can listen to God about the where and the when that will be so much the better. He says that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. For my part, I’ve seen Him to be abundantly faithful on that part.

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