A Thought or Two

Just a Thought or Two

 Places by Marla Bentien


The wood was smooth to the touch, well worn but made beautiful with the passing of time. I sat alone in the unpadded pew, stroking the glossy finish as the memories flooded over me. The days and months and years I spent in this lofty yet simple redwood chapel had long ago slipped away, but countless moments had stamped their lasting imprint upon my heart and spirit. My throat tightened and the tears came easily as I thought of all God had done in my life here. This place made my heart melt – and still does to this day.


Do you have a special place, one that you carry in your heart, one that means more to you than any other? For the Israelites in the Bible, their most cherished place was Jerusalem. They were just as human as we are, so perhaps we can imagine how they felt when they were driven from their land, exiled and living as foreigners in a strange place. They longed to return to the single spot on this earth that they loved more than any other. Listen to the psalmist’s lament in Psalm 137: “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept as we remembered Zion ….If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth…if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.”


Jerusalem is also God’s special place (it is referenced approximately 800 times in the Bible!). Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Lk. 19:41). And in Revelation 21 we read the dazzling description of the New Jerusalem, “the Holy City” that God is going to create, a place of incredible beauty where God Himself will live among His people. That is really something to look forward to!


Of course what makes a place special is not merely the locale; it becomes dear to us because of what God accomplishes in our lives there, because of the people that we spend our hours and days with. There are moments when I wish I could return to my special place, but that time has passed; God has me in a different place with different people, and through them (the people and the place) He is working new things in my life. Our magnificent Creator is not bound by time or space, and yet He is with us in each and every place. Whether it is a beautiful place, like the redwood chapel, or even a difficult place, like the Israelites in exile, we can give our places to the Lord and trust His promise to us: “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Mt. 28:20).