The alarm sounded. I was up at 2:30 AM! Wow! My folks even gave me a phone call. I was ready. Showered, drove to the church. Met the Nicaragua mission team at the Central Church of Christ, and off we went. Got to Birmingham, and it happened. We boarded the plane. Seated and ready for takeoff, we hear this announcement, “We’re having some technical difficulties with the fire protection in the luggage compartment. Let’s go ahead and deplane and we’ll call the mechanic.” It turns out the mechanic was not found, and we didn’t get to fly to Managua, Nicaragua, that day. So, we headed back to Tuscaloosa. Never been to Sunday church in shorts before.
Next day. The alarm sounds! I am up at 2:30 AM! My folks call me (again). Showered and ready, I meet Bill Rayburn at the Central Church of Christ building and we head to Birmingham. Turns out it’s the same flight, same time, with American. And, it turns out that problem had not been fixed, and our flight was cancelled.
There was more than one honeymoon that was delayed. One lady was bringing all the preparation for a beautiful wedding in Jamaica. Another was just headed to her work. We were missing important mission work. We were all frustrated.
It had been quite the hassle. Two days of waking up before the crack of dawn. Two trips to Birmingham. Hours of haggling with American Airlines agents. Lines. Did I mention lines. I may or may not have lost my cool a time or two the first day. I definitely got riled up the second. I mean…why didn’t they fix the plane?
We rebooked through United and finally made our way down there that night.
Whew! We got to where we wanted to be! What a relief. I had recently been told that I needed to work on my patience. Got in some really good training there.
When we finally made it to the Managua Best Western and began our work with the churches here, we were ecstatic. We were where we wanted to be. We were where we saw God as moving us in his mission. We were going to minister to hundreds of children and carry out all the work we had done to give them a memorable and effective week of VBS.
Have you ever gotten where you want to be in life?
Somewhere you’ve worked for? Maybe it was years in college. Maybe it was years of courting that beautiful girl. Maybe it was hours or practice. Maybe it was hard work and dedication and perseverance that finally paid off.
Well, David could relate to that.
Think of all he went through. He was anointed by Samuel as a young guy. He was told he would be king. But, he wasn’t yet. He faced a giant. He put up with the madness of a jealous king. He wandered in the wilderness. He hid in caves. He fought in battles. His family was taken from him (but he rescued them). He saw the death of his best friend Jonathan. And, through it all he persevered and kept standing in that line, waiting for God to do what he believe God has promised. He waited to see the goodness of the Lord. And, there it was. He was crowned king.
He had gotten all he wanted. All he had waited for.
Or, did he?
What did David really want?
Did he want to be in a particular place? Did he really want the palace more than anything else?
Well, it turns out, not really. He didn’t want a place for himself so much as he wanted a place for God.
In II Samuel 7, we read that the newly crowned King David wants something from God. He wants to build him a palace. He wants to build a temple in which to place the ark of the covenant. He wants to make God great in the eyes of the people. He wants a place for Him!
Think about that. When you get to the place you want to be, is that really the place you want to be?
Yogi Berra wasn’t too far off when he say, “Wherever you are, there you’ll be!”
Here’s the thing. David didn’t really want a geographic place for himself. He didn’t really want a status nor a throne. Do you know where David really wanted to be?
We don’t have to wonder. He told us in Psalm 27:4,
“One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
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 inquire in his temple.”
In the words of the song, David just wanted to be where God is. He didn’t want a throne if God wasn’t there. He didn’t want a pasture if God wasn’t there. And, I can tell you this, David would have been happy to wait in line at the American Airlines counter if he knew God was there.
Now, I have to tell you, sometimes I get caught up in my location and status. I want to be where I want to be when I want to be there. How about you? Do you admire those patient prayer warriors who seem to always be content with their situation? I do. I seem to have spiritual ADD. I forget so many times and get distracted from this primary fact that I want to share with you.
God is here.
He’s here in Managua in the hearts of the servants serving children. He’s here in the hotel. He’s even at the airport at the counter. Why?
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” I Corinthians 3:16
Do you not know that at the airport, you are the presence of God there?
Do you not know that at the restaurant, God is with you?
Do you not know that late at night and early in the morning and all through your day, you have something that is so precious and so special that it made a king beg. What is it?
God’s temple is here. You are it.
Sometimes we get so frustrated with the world. Well, that’s ok. There are frustrating things. But, we are God’s presence renovating it. We are God’s hands touching it. We are God’s feet going to help. We are God’s mind thinking the thoughts that transform that world. And, when we realize that, we can know that we have the very thing we’ve wanted all along. The only thing that will satisfy.
David said that “a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside,” Psalm 84:10. I can say a day WITH GOD even if it’s haggling with airlines is better than a thousand WITHOUT him.
“In his presence is fullness of joy”, Psalm 16:11.
Let’s be the temple. Let’s be the presence of God in the world.