Inspiration invitation: “Deepening the Faith” devotional 2
This installment is part of a regular devotional series, “Deepening the Faith,” written by Gordon faculty and staff for the enrichment of the wider College community.
Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent. —Exodus 33:7–11
One unusually warm spring day, my mother walked over to my house from hers. My children were small and her arrival signified a reason to take a much-needed break from the play-clean-eat-clean sequence of my day. We went outside to the deck for some sunshine and reprieve.
“I feel funny about Jesus,” I told her. “I think my frustration with other people has caused me to take a step back from the person of Christ. The Father I get, the Holy Spirit I want to know more, but I feel kind of funny about Jesus.”
My mother is a passionate believer and I feared my comments would disappoint her. Yet, she didn’t even bat an eyelid.
“I get what you mean,” she said. “I’ve been there. The reasons were different for me, but there was a time in my faith journey when I felt disconnected from Jesus.”
She told me the most beautiful story of how she prayed about her desire to know Jesus in a deeper and more personal way. Her prayer was answered with an invitation. “I had this incredibly clear image of being at the base of a mountain,” she described. “And Jesus reached out his hand to me, as if inviting me to climb alongside him. To go on this risk-filled journey trusting he would be with me.”
I can’t remember ever hearing my mom share a story quite like this one. To be honest, I felt a pang of jealousy. Here I was admitting my own lack of depth in intimacy with Christ, a direct result of my own irritability and judgement of others. And my mother shared a glimpse, simply the beginning, of her enticing and very personal life-adventure with Jesus himself. I wanted what she had.
Later that night, when processing the feelings that arose within me earlier in the day, I got over myself, and kneeled in prayer. I risked disappointment, and asked for Jesus to invite me into a richer knowing of him as well. And so, in me, a deeper journey began.
I imagine it was a similar notion for Joshua. The Lord would speak to Moses face-to-face, as one speaks to a friend. When Moses left the tent of meeting and returned to camp, his young aide Joshua would stay behind in the afterglow of Moses’ personal encounter with the living God. It seems to me that he wanted to soak in the residual glory of what had just occurred. Perhaps he too was jealous in a way that inspired him. God is so good to answer our prayer of “More, please!” with a resounding “Yes!” Much like Moses’ story, Joshua’s life became one of hearing from and encountering God directly. There was room in God’s inner circle for him as well.
Are there people you’ve encountered whose relationship with the Lord inspires you to want more of him in your own life? Perhaps that inspiration is an invitation.
Director of Discipleship
Lauren brings to Gordon College her fusion of psychology and spiritual formation, and her love of spiritual disciplines. It is her joy to come alongside students and join them on their spiritual journey, fostering intentionality, growth and depth of relationship with Christ. Lauren is a graduate of Eastern Nazarene College (B.A.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where she received her M.A. in Counseling. She lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband, Todd, and her four delightful children.