So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love. Ephesians 3:17 ESV
When I was a teenager, my favorite place to go on summer vacation was to my grandparent’s house. Of course, I loved their company, but they also made me feel special because they had a guest room just for me! It had really neat antique furniture and its own bathroom. But in the back of my mind, I knew that no matter how long I stayed or how much fun I had, that eventually I had to go home.
As Christians we begin our journey with Jesus by putting our faith in Him and inviting Him into our hearts. But Paul prays that we when we invite Jesus to come, that it will be far more than expecting Him to stay in our guest room for a while. Paul uses the word dwell, which means,” take up permanent residence.” Jesus wants to do more than just come for a visit. Dwelling means as Paul goes on to say that we are being rooted just like a tree into a relationship with God. Now if you go outside and glance down the street, I am pretty sure that there are not any trees going for a stroll around your neighborhood. No! Trees stay in one spot because that is where they are rooted. Last of all Paul shows us that we are not just rooted out of obligation to God, but because of love – His love. The God of the universe sent His only Son to die on the cross because of His love for us. And because of that, we can trust Him with every room of our house. In fact, we can joyfully sign over the title to our home to Him and hand Him the keys! Jesus wants more than a guest room. He wants to live in our hearts forever!
Even though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil for you are with me. Your rod and your staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 ESV
During times of crisis, it is natural to be fearful. Our airwaves are filled with the constant reports of sickness, quarantines and businesses shutting down. There has never been anything like this in our lifetimes and we wonder what trouble still lies ahead; and not just for ourselves but for our children and grandchildren. But in the valley of the shadow of death we have a hope that is greater than any disease, and stronger than any hardship. We have the presence of the good shepherd; Jesus Christ; who gave His life for us.
Outside of the city where I was born there was a long valley called Sugar Hollow. It was a notch between the hills through which the main road from the South ran into the city. One interesting thing about Sugar Hollow was that as you drove into it at evening rush hour, darkness fell early. Everyone began to flick on their headlights as the shadows of the surrounding hills blocked out the sun. In the Hollow it looked as if night had fallen; but when you rounded the final bend that led out of the valley, the shadows drew back and the sun reappeared as if saying “I left the light on for you, welcome home!”
Prayer: When fears are all around us like a deep valley help us remember Lord that You are always with us. Remind us that we can trust You to lead us through this valley and all the way home!
Maybe you were a little like me growing up and you just wanted to fit in (But you couldn’t). In my case it was usually because I was the new kid – over and over again! Being accepted like one of the others was a premium that somehow I was never quite able to pay. When I found Jesus at the age of nineteen; finally there was someone who was willing to be called my friend. But old ways of thinking can have a way of hanging around and translated into running after acceptance as if I still needed to belong somewhere here on this planet. I was still looking for home.
But Jesus reminds me that fitting in here on earth is not His goal for my life. In fact what we all need more than anything else is the peace that flows from knowing that where God has put us for now is the perfect place to be. He does give us a spot to catch our breath at times like Jesus did at the Samaritan well. But the destination that Jesus has in mind is our real home; and it sits there on the other side of the river.
In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:2-3