By Erin Warren
In February of 2020, I felt God leading me to leave my job. I had high hopes for my next season as that chapter closed. I was expectantly looking forward to three solid months of time to do what I wanted and needed to do before my kids were home for summer. You’re probably laughing reading those words, because what I didn’t know then was what we all didn’t know: the world was about to change…drastically. A month later, I was responsible for schooling my children (ages 5, 7, & 9 at the time). Instead of moments of peace, introspection, and freedom, I found myself barely surviving with littles constantly hungry, fighting, and needing entertainment while battling my own feelings about the whole situation. My only solace in those early days of the pandemic was my back porch. Honestly, I had loathed that back porch for most of the time we had lived in that house. It was too narrow for a table or patio furniture, so it sat almost empty for the 12 years we had lived there. But that spring, a lone wicker bench purchased from a garage sale years ago and a porch that felt pointless had become a sacred place to meet with God.
Most mornings, I would grab my coffee and go sit on that porch. There was an eerie calmness with birds chirping and the hushed sounds of nature now audible in the absence of the hustle and bustle of the old mornings. It was a place I could shut out the fears of what we were walking and a place to gather the manna in the wilderness I so desperately needed in order to go back inside and do all the things. One day on that porch, God led me to Psalm 90. It’s a prayer written by Moses, who knew a thing or two about walking in the wilderness with God. Scholars believe Moses may have written this psalm after the events of Numbers 14 (when God told the Israelites that they would not go to the Promised Land, but instead wander the wilderness for 40 years). I cannot imagne the disappointment Moses felt. 40 more years! But yet, Moses starts his psalm with God’s character:
Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever you had formed the earth and the world, From everlasting to everlasting, you are God.
Dwelling Place. Eternal. Everlasting. God. Creator.
The Israelites has no permanent home. They were wandering aimlessly, living in tents, and Moses says that in this place where they have no home, God is the place in which they dwell. It implies permanence, not a place a they visit. It’s a place they abide.
Creator is one of those traits of God that means so much more than we realize. We often point to the idea that God is creative. But in ancient times, being the creator points more to the sovereignty of God. Think of an artist who sits down to paint. That artist is charge of the brush. She controls each stroke. She is sovereign over the design. In the same way, our Creator God is sovereign over His creation. He rules over it. He is in charge. Here, in the wilderness, Moses is giving praise to the God who reigns.
Eternal and everlasting. These two also mean so much more. If we take the artist analogy further, the artist existed before the painting did. Moses here ties the Creator with His everlasting natural. God is everlasting and eternal. He existed before the world was brought forth. And He will exist forevermore. He has no beginning and no end. In other words, God is beyond time (insert mind-blowing emoji here). His timeline is completely different than ours. Moses continues, pointing out that our lives here are short. God returns us to the dust and a thousand years are but a watch in the night to Him. Our years here are toil and trouble. Sounds depressing right? But Moses takes a turn:
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Return, O Lord! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
In light of God’s eternal nature, teach us. Let us learn and gain wisdom from You, O Sovereign God. Our ability to gain wisdom lies in our ability to shift to an eternal perspective. We number our days and live according to God’s timeline, not our own. And that happens when we do as Moses opened the psalm: we make God our dwelling place. Not just the place we run to when there’s trouble, but the place we stay, live, abide. We find satisfaction in His steadfast love. This is His love for us that can never be taken away. It is His covenant loyalty to us – a never-ending love no matter what. We are glad, even when afflicted, even when evil surrounds us, because we know that we do not suffer for eternity. One day, there will be no more mourning and no more death (Revelation 21:1-6).
On my miniature porch that morning, God reminded me that these seemingly long days of hard are but a momentary blink in eternity. They will soon pass. Our God is so much bigger. He called forth the mountains and carved out the streams. He was there before the foundation of the world, and He will be forevermore. He is the dwelling place where my heart abides in steadfast love, wisdom, joy, and peace. Take heart. Rejoice. And be glad. He is God.
Erin H. Warren is passionate about equipping and encouraging women to discover God’s truths for themselves. She leads and teaches Bible study through her ministry Feasting on Truth and has published six Bible studies which are all available on Amazon. She and her husband, Kris, have three littles (who aren’t so little anymore), and they live in Central Florida. She loves coffee, a house full of people, and a table full of food and hopes tacos never go out of style. You can find more information about Feasting on Truth on her website: feastingontruth.com You can also connect with her on Instagram: @erinhwarren @feastingontruth and YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/erinhwarren.