I have always been intrigued by words. I remember when I was in high school I heard a comedian making fun of the English language. He said that “laughter” pronounced “laff-ter” means that “daughter” should be pronounced “daff-ter.” It really is amazing that people learn to read and speak English at all.
Recently I have seen a word surface in my devotions and in conversations so I have given it some thought. The word is “dwelling.”In a quick dictionary study it’s one of those fun words that can be a noun or a verb. It can mean a place, like a home (dwelling). It can also mean “to spend time” on something (dwell).
What do you “spend time” thinking about? Is it thankfulness or bitterness? Is it anger or joy? Do you think about how life used to be? Or do you spend time thinking about how good life could be, if only you had ….. (fill in the blank)?
A dwelling, both physical and emotional/spiritual, can also be a place where you feel comfortable. Where do you feel the most comfortable? Do you feel the most comfortable when you’re complaining? Do you feel the most comfortable in thinking about the past or the future? Do you feel most comfortable in the presence of God?
I’m not sure if I’m just getting older, or if I’m just more sensitive to it, but I’m hearing more and more about how much tragedy there is in the world, and how hard the holidays can be. There’s political unrest, strong opinions, and a surge of violence it seems. There are wars overseas and that’s only a fraction of what’s going on. It would be really easy to focus on all that’s going wrong. There are lots of folks that dwell on the negative. While there are bad things that happen, we have to choose to dwell on our eternal hope. This world was never meant for us to be content. It was meant for us to long for more. The 23rd Psalm tells us that we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death….” It does not say “though we stop and make our dwelling in the valley of the shadow of death.” Isaiah 43:18 says “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” We are supposed to be current thinkers. Psalm 23:6 says we will “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 4:8 says that “I will lie down in peace for you, oh Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Clearly the Lord has a plan for where we dwell. My plan might include a beach or lake house and looking forward to retirement. I might plan for my current dwelling to have some renovations or nicer things, or more land and less neighbors (and barking dogs).
Today, I will choose to dwell on things above and live in the present. I will make my physical dwelling place (my home) a place of joy and my spiritual dwelling place in the presence of the Lord.