Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tents and Tabernacles

In chapters 37-40 of Exodus, I'm amazed by the great attention to detail that God prescribed for the building and furnishing of the tabernacle. He didn't just say something like, "Hey Moses, go build a place for me to hang out," he specified with exact instructions what he expected and required.

The word tabernacle means tent, but this wasn't a coleman. This was a sacred sanctuary where God chose to meet his people. When it was complete, chapter 40 explains what happened next:

34 Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. 35 Moses could no longer enter the Tabernacle because the cloud had settled down over it, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.
36 Now whenever the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out on their journey, following it. 37 But if the cloud did not rise, they remained where they were until it lifted. 38 The cloud of the Lord hovered over the Tabernacle during the day, and at night fire glowed inside the cloud so the whole family of Israel could see it. This continued throughout all their journeys.

These people were fortunate enough to visibly see evidence of God's glory and presence and they learned to wait on his lead before they moved. Unless he said go, they stayed still.

Today, God no longer dwells in a man-made tabernacle--he dwells in the hearts and lives of his children in the person of his Son, our Savior. And just as then, he leads those who are willing to wait, willing to follow.

One of the most beautiful people I have ever known is a living example of what it looks like when someone visibly tabernacles with God. Tiffany Pate, mother of two young boys and wife of one great husband, discovered last spring that she had advanced breast cancer that had metastasized to her liver. She has used her trial to bring glory to God, and as she has shared her journey, the lives of even strangers have been touched by her faith. Despite her illness, Tiffany's face glows as one who has been in the presence of God. Here is an excerpt from a letter she sent today:

...Before I even begin, I will have to apologize. I am receiving radiation to the "whole brain" therefore, my head is very "fuzzy" and I am sure there will be a lot of typos. I am going to make this short, sweet and try to express my love as quickly as I can.

Wow! Who knew? Two weeks ago we are celebrating a Disney Cruise with our precious family....and today, whole brain radiation!!! Where do we start? It all seems like whirlwind, really? My last scan, three weeks ago, showed no signs of cancer in my torso area. I am sure you all immediately wondered why they were not more careful to scan every region of my body. The only answer I have to that right now is that this cancer experience has been far from typical since day one. The "typical" route of this cancer would have been throughout my body before heading to my brain. Since everything was clearing up in the body, it seemed very safe to assume we were safe in the head (like that was ever really safe to assume)! So, Dr. Peppercorn, was in no way, remiss with his treatments. My body just doesn't like to be "normal".

So, now we just go from here. I will do 10 days of radiation treatments to destroy and shrink cancer cells in my brain. Then we will go an oral chemo for the brain to keep the cancer at bay in the brain as long as we can. We will also continue an oral chemo to help keep the cancer under control in my body. This is where we are right now. We know nothing more or less. The doctors says he sees people live years or months. There is no "scenario" that I can give you! Frankly, I am happy with that! It seems my scenarios have never gone according to planned anyway!

Now, what I really want to get across with this e-mail is how much I love all of you and appreciate you from the very bottom of my heart! My mindset is amazing and I am filled with the joy of my LORD every single day! I love Him, and my FAITH in Him will NEVER waver! I am more at peace with this diagnosis than I have ever been. I am totally okay with the best case scenario or the worst case scenario because the worst case scenario is of this world...not of my GOD!!! I win either way! It's really an amazing feeling to know the peace that I am experiencing! If the doctor looked at me tomorrow and said, "okay, girl...we are going to hook you up to these pain meds, make this as easy and quick as possible, and help you all get through this"...my response would be...."let's go" My only reason(s) for staying here one more day is to Glorify my God in any way we can! I trust Him to take care of my boys and my husband! I trust Him to take care of my family! We are going to get through this! The big deal is to not finish this race without fulfilling God's purpose for it! So, please, never feel that God has let me down or is "not delivering". My eyes and heart are not focused on the immediate track we are running. My eyes are focused on the puzzle that I cannot see until the last piece is in. Whatever small part I can play in placing that one piece in the right place is all I have to worry about! I want your prayer to be that that will remain our focus and that we won't "miss" anything God has intended for us along the way!
I want to be an open vessel for my God, and the rest will take care of itself. If you have one moment to share His glory, grab it with full force and never take it for granted!
I am probably at my limit now....but, I will be in touch soon!
I love you all and will never know how to thank you for being all that you are in my life!
In Him

I will continue to pray for Tiffany's healing because she inspires me and I want her to be in my life. It is impossible to be in her presence for even a minute without sensing God's presence.

What a privilege that all of his children are invited to "tabernacle" with Almighty God because of the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Lord, help us never get ahead of you or lag behind. Please order our steps and teach us to trust as we watch and wait. Show us your glory and don't let us miss it! And we'd be ever so grateful if you'd completely heal Tiffany so that she can keep giving you glory this side of heaven. In Jesus' Precious, Healing Name, Amen.

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