The nation of Israel had escaped their slavery in Egypt and had a new home awaiting them in Jericho. In between all the pain of their past and all of the promise of their future was a journey through the desert that would end up lasting over 40 years. As they scraped their way across the dry, barren land, God made an unusual request. God asked that the people build a movable temple, a place that would remind them of where they had been and where they were going, and also remind them that they wouldn’t have to go alone. God was detailed in His instructions. He laid out plans for what the temple would look like. It was to be filled with altars and lamps all covered in gold, and ornate and hand stitched curtains made from the finest fabrics. In short, it was to be breathtaking.
Only one problem: the people of Israel were in the midst of one of the largest moves in the history of the world. If you have every moved from one house to another, you know how even the smallest move can be difficult and all-consuming. Imagine that on the day of your next move, as you squeeze massive furniture through small doors to load onto the waiting truck, God tells you that now would be a great time to paint a masterpiece, or sculpt something out of marble, or maybe stitch together a quilt for the family. It would be even more insane if you had never painted, sculpted, or stitched a stitch in your life, but that was exactly the predicament that the Israelites found themselves in.
The simple fact is that on our messiest days, during the most trying periods of our life, God steps down into the chaos and births beautiful things. When I am going through dry, difficult times in my life, the last thing I’m thinking is that God could do something beautiful in the midst of the mess. But isn’t that where God most often does His work; in the muck and mess? If we are honest, isn’t that where we most need something beautiful, in the dark and in the doubt? So, if you are out-of-breath, over-worked, and under-inspired, hang in there, God may very well be preparing to invite you into something extraordinary.