A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. (Psalm 84:10)
Relate: In college, I had two spots that were exclusively mine. Early in the morning I would go up into the balcony of the chapel. For about an hour before breakfast, I would pace back and forth or sit in one seat (second row, third chair) and spend my morning with God. On a much less frequent basis, about once a week perhaps, there was a spot I would visit later in the day on the far side of the campus “lake”. This spot was my River Jabbok. It was where I would go to wrestle with God. In Binghamton, I had a particular bench I would sit at on The River Walk. This devotional was born on that bench. Once I moved to Istanbul I found a spot on the bottom of my hill right on the Bosphorus. From that spot, I was able to see both the sunrise to my right and the sunset to my left over the water. These days in the city I am in, I go to the roof in the mornings and then there’s a particular place at a nearby park I will go to in the afternoons. This is where I go to spend some time alone with God.
There is also a place I go to get together with the community of God. When I am in my city, that place is called Yeni Yaşam (New Life). In Istanbul, that place was called Nation’s Church. In Binghamton, it was called Two River’s Church. Even though I am frequently not in town on Sundays, I do my best to find a local community of believers I can join in with where I am at. Where do you go to get together with the community of God? Where do you go to get alone with Him?
React: Why do we need to go anywhere at all? Isn’t God everywhere? Can’t we just meet with Him anytime, anywhere? Yes, but there is something special about pilgrimage. There is something uniquely blessed about getting up and out of your routine to meet with the Master. There is something specially blessed about having a particular place dedicated exclusively to encountering God. I have prayer times at my desk, or couch, or bed very often. But one time of prayer at my River Jabbok is more precious to me than a hundred times of prayer at my desk. I listen almost daily to sermon podcasts from giants of the faith like Steven Furtick, Louis Giglio, Erwin McManus, and Will Hampton. But one time getting together with the community of God is better than a dozen sermon podcasts.
Psalm 84 is a psalm of pilgrimage. It is a song that shares the longing of all who would set aside their daily business, pack up, and head to the Temple of Jerusalem. Making such a trip was not always easy or convenient. Even for those who lived relatively close, getting all the kids decked out in their Saturday best and then loading up the donkey was probably quite a chore. But it was always worth it. Better is one day in the house of God than a thousand elsewhere. So, I ask again, where do you go to get together with the community of God?
Let me never take for granted the value and privilege of getting up and going to meet with You. Be it alone or in community, do not let me forsake the importance of having a place and a time that I have given exclusively to You. When I get up and go, I ask that You meet with me. In peace or in struggle, in plenty or in want, as You seek me out, help me to find and frequently use a place where I can go and seek Your face.