It isn’t pretty, but it happens.
You’re at the company Christmas party or the big family celebration and gifts are exchanged.
You look at the gift someone else opens–it has “Wow!” emblazoned on it. Then you look at the gift you open–it has re-gifting written all over it.
He hit the jackpot, you got the gag gift.
As much as you know you should be happy for the other guy, to be brutally honest you really wish the gifts were switched. You congratulate him through gritted teeth and a forced smile. There it is: gift envy.
I have to admit I have a bad case of it spiritually.
I see people who are fortunate enough to get the really cool spiritual gifts–like supernatural visions or dreams. Dynamic events revealed in divine ways. Deep truth funneled to the faculties through really cool experiences.
I want that! Yep…gift envy.
But I also have a strange feeling that if I was ever given a vision it would probably be as exciting as the one the old prophet Ezekiel got. He got a full-length video vision of a guy measuring the Temple of Jerusalem room by room–closets included.
The spiritual equivalent of watching grass grow.
Sometimes when I read a passage in the Bible that appears parochial and monotonous I wonder how it made it in the Book at all. That’s how I was feeling recently when I read this long Temple-measuring vision of Ezekiel.
Why would God give such an intricate picture of such a menial endeavor?
I was determined to get through it, so I kept reading. I hung with it long enough to notice something that unexpectedly struck me…deeply, almost mystically. In the middle of this exercise in evident futility, Ezekiel is stopped by the angel serving as his tour guide. In a near whisper, he was told the purpose of the rooms being measured.
They were the “holy spaces“.
It occurred to me that much of life can seem predictable…dull beyond words.
But hidden within the ruts and routines of daily life, there are “holy spaces”. Quiet places where you intimately encounter the living God. Still spaces where you offer the sacrifice of surrender and create a pleasing fragrance of faith before a loving God.
You might find it in the enchanting eyes of an expectant child; the warm touch of an aging friend or the gentle kindness of a complete stranger. Maybe it strikes you in the beauty of a museum painting, the splendor of a setting sun or the sound of a majestic orchestra.
It might happen when you’re chatting with a loved one, listening to an insightful teacher or reading a particularly intriguing book. Or it could happen at the bedside of an ailing parent, in the arms of a broken-hearted child or with the last breaths of a devoted family pet.
It most often occurs when you least expect it, catches you utterly off-guard and quickly takes your breath away. These deeply intimate and profoundly personal moments are what give meaning to the ordinary and significance to the normal.
Without these sacred spaces, life can be a drudgery of unending days without substantive purpose–like dragging a measuring tape around a Temple.
Existence without life. Action without passion. Function without fire.
But in the “Holy Spaces” we discover the extraordinary life of God hidden like treasure in the ordinary life we live.
Common moments become exceptional. Time pulsates with eternity. Earth is kissed by Heaven.
Humble places become “holy spaces” when God, dressed in the denim of the daily, infuses the mundane routines of living with the extraordinary essence of life.