A TENT OF MEETING
(Taken from the book: SLEEPING NEAR THE ARK, but M.K. Gantt and Barbara E. Haley)
In 2019, my friend Barb Haley and I collaborated on a little book written especially for writers entitled SLEEPING NEAR THE ARK. My inventory was completely empty so I ordered a new shipment to sell through my online bookstore. They arrived today. As I was thumbing through one of the books, making sure it had been correctly constructed and printed, I came across these few paragraphs that I had included in the book.
Sometimes when I need to work through important ideas I will get in my car and just drive. It's like my personal cocoon where I can seal myself in, shut everything else out, and hear God. It is my seclusion chamber where the Holy Spirit can break through all of the noise of life and speak directly to my heart. As I read these few paragraphs I felt like I ought to share them, as I feel there are others who may struggle with some of the same things I do. I call the piece A TENT OF MEETING.
O God, my God, it is this I desire––a tent of meeting with you. A place I can remove myself from the influence of others; from the cacophony of noise we foolishly call worship, which is not worship because it’s not for you at all, but for us.
O that men would learn that to truly hear God, one does not organize a meeting in a tent, but pitches a tent of meeting. Not a place where many gather to excite one another, oohing and ahhing over things which may or may not be of you, but a place where no one else is allowed to be but you and me.
A place where I can truly hear your voice, absent the clanging brass cymbals who claim to be the voice of God but say nothing. A place where there is no temptation or opportunity to merchandise the Words that you speak, nor any crass self-promotion, and most of all, a place where there is no need to craft some new and improved doctrine or manifestation to further justify “my” ministry.
I am so weary of the dancing and singing around the golden calves we have built; the false religion that has been insidiously inserted into the place of the true worship of the True God. We leap upon the altars of our own making, crying for more and greater “manifestations,” while we hiss and growl and anyone who pleads for truth and reverence––and righteousness.
Oh God, my God, it is this I desire––a tent of meeting with you. A place where I can shamelessly cast myself upon the rock of your Word and be broken there and allow you to tenderly wipe away the shattered pieces of my flesh, and just be me. For I have found O God, that it is only with you that I feel safe to be me. No pretense, no flowery speech, no impressive dialogue; certainly, no straining at theological gnats and absolutely no need to be right.
I am so fearful of men that I wear the Pharisee’s mask so no one will know the broken man that I am. Yet, I know there must be a place that is a secret shared only with you. Here, realizing that you can see through it anyway, I cast off my hypocrite’s mask and stand before you open and unguarded.
O God, my God, it is this I desire––a tent of meeting with you. I have walked this way for fifty years, and I no longer hunger for recognition, and have no desire to erect monuments. I no longer require some great manifestation of your power to convince me that you are there. I know you are there and I know you love me.
What I hunger for is a place where I can go with you, where we can be alone; a place where you will stand before my tent and speak with me; a place from which I can return with a face that glows from being in your presence. And it will be okay when the glow begins to fade. I will have no need to cover my face with a cloth to conceal its dimming because there will always be that special place, that tent of meeting that is just for you and me.
O God, my God, it is this I desire––a tent of meeting with you.