Thanks for those who have prayed for my recovery from my recent surgery. I am doing remarkably well, thanks to my excellent surgeon Dr. Eleonore Zetrenne of Signature Plastic Surgery in Irvine, California. And yes, that is an unabashed plug for her amazing care. When I first met Dr. Z, I had very natural concerns about my upcoming double mastectomy and what things would be like for me after that life-changing event. She was most assuring as she promised me that although it would take some time, she would make me beautiful again. I reminded her that she would only be able to do that by God’s power working through her (!) but she has been true to her promise. It has meant so much to me to be in her wonderful care.
And yes, for those who worry about me and my pushing myself too hard too fast, I assure you I am working hard to NOT work too hard! My strength is returning speedily and for that I am most grateful.
The Lord has put it on my heart to share this morning about my prayer chair. Now my prayer chair has gained more notoriety than I have in some circles! During my cancer storm, all my almost-daily blog posts were blogged from my prayer chair and I spoke often about how God met me as I sat in that chair, crying out to Him, seeking Him, His comfort, His promise of a future for me, and His assurance that somehow, some way, some day, He would make my suffering count for His glory.
And so my prayer chair became somewhat, well, famous. On the first day of my CANCER with CHRIST support group which meets in my home, one of the gals said, “Is that your prayer chair? I’ve read so much about it! I thought it would look different than that!” I think she was saying that after all my sharing about how God met me in this special place, she thought the chair might be more fancy, more elaborate or perhaps it might have a special glow like the face of Moses after he came down from meeting God on the top of Mount Sinai!
Nah. It just a regular, upholstered, comfortable recliner that’s getting a little worn, has a few places where a coffee stain didn’t quite come out and other places where the kitty’s claws left their indelible mark. But it’s the best chair in my house.
We moved my prayer chair for my surgery and recovery so I wouldn’t have to negotiate so many stairs to get from one room to another. We moved it from the living room where I love looking out the front windows and where the maple trees in my front yard become icons of the Lord’s presence as the leaves change in color through the seasons — to the downstair’s family room where the view is the back yard swimming pool. Not as iconic for effective prayer time. At least that was my concern. Would this change in location affect the way I could access the presence of the Lord as I sat to pray and rest and recover there?
Can you move the Tent of Meeting?
It’s Exodus 33 that tells the story of Moses, traveling with God’s people in the wilderness. Whenever Moses sought the Lord, he went to his special prayer chair — he called it the “Tent of Meeting”. Everytime he went there, the people would get up and stand at the entrances to their own tents and they would wait … because they knew God and Moses would talk together there, “face to face, as one speaks to a friend” (Ex. 33:11). I guess that’s the best way to explain what happens in my prayer chair — I have the chance to get close to God and to talk back and forth with Him as my Forever Friend. And certainly, Moses’ Tent of Meeting was moved over and over again as the Israelites traveled in the desert toward their Promised Land.
So I didn’t need to worry about moving my prayer chair. You can indeed move the Tent of Meeting. The Lord’s presence has met me in my family room as surely and sweetly as He’s met me for years in my living room looking out the window at those iconic trees in my front yard. It’s been good to know that the location isn’t magic. And as much as I love my prayer chair, I’ve learned from this that God is ready to meet me wherever I seek Him with all my heart. My prayer chair isn’t magic — any more than that dust-weary tent of Moses was magic as he entered it to seek the Lord. But the point really is that Moses had a place to meet with God. It appears Jesus adopted this same type of approach as we find Him often in the Gospels leaving the sleeping apostles early while it was still dark and going to a “lonely place” to talk with His Father.
So I guess my word for this morning is that although we can meet with God anywhere, it’s good to have a special place of meeting where we seek the Lord, speak to Him and expect to hear him speak to us. What’s your Tent of Meeting?
Love and blessings today,
After more than 25 years in parish ministry, Rev. Cathie retired in early 2018 to pursue a quieter life with her husband Philip in the mountains of Central Oregon. Although no longer a leader in congregational life, she continues to follow her calling and passion to minister to those who suffer, especially those with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.