Hidden behind the door of many homes is the reality of hardship. Secret things happen that few want the world to know. Yet, from some people (presently and historically) we are given the inside story, whether they want it told or not.
A devastated home isn’t always apparent on first impression, is it? Susanna Wesley was married to a preacher. They had 10 children of which, two grew up to bring millions of souls to Christ. That would be John and Charles Wesley. It’s a powerful story if you stop there, isn’t it?
But, behind the door of her home, hopeless conditions were the norm. She married a man who couldn’t manage money. They disagreed on everything from money to politics. They had 19 children. All except ten died in infancy. Sam (her husband) left her to raise the children alone for long periods of time. This was sometimes over something as simple as an argument.
One of their children was crippled. Another couldn’t talk until he was nearly six years old. Susanna herself was desperately sick most of her life. There was no money for food or anything thing else. Debt plagued them.
Sam was once thrown into debtor’s prison because their debt was so high, which doubled their problems. Twice the homes they lived in were burned to the ground, losing everything they owned. It was assumed that their church members did it because they were so mad at what Sam preached in the pulpit! Someone slit their cow’s udders so they wouldn’t have milk, killed their dog, and burned their flax field!
When Susanna was young, she promised the Lord that for every hour she spent in entertainment, she would give to Him in prayer and in the Word. Taking care of the house and raising so many kids made this commitment nearly impossible to fulfill. She had no time for entertainment or long hours in prayer! She worked the gardens, milked the cow, schooled the children and managed the entire house herself. So, she decided to instead give the Lord two hours a day in prayer!
She struggled to find a secret place to get away with Him. So she advised her children that when they saw her with her apron over her head, that meant she was in prayer and couldn’t be disturbed. She was devoted to her walk with Christ, praying for her children and knowledge in the Word no matter how hard life was.
One of her daughters got pregnant out of wedlock and the man never married her. She was devastated, but remained steadfast in prayer for her daughter.
In the end, she knew that one day her hard life would be over and she alone would stand before the throne of God and give an account of how she lived her life.
We can be the best mom, wife, friend, person in the world and still have untold hardships. We need to take Susanna’s example, flip our apron over our head and pray in the middle of it all.
Back to the beginning of my story…
Her son’s John and Charles were powerhouses for the glory of the Lord. John Wesley preached to nearly a million people in his day. At the age of 70 he delivered the gospel message of salvation to 32,000 people- without the use of a microphone! He brought revival everywhere he traveled! His brother Charles wrote over 9000 hymns, many of which we still sing today.
Hidden behind the door of my home, I want our children to find a mom who prays diligently- no matter how busy or how. (Written by Sharon Glasgow)
Susanna found her sacred space.
Where is your sacred space where you meet with God?
Our relationship with God is the most important relationship we will ever have.
Ezekiel 45, The Message
Sacred Space for God
1-4 “When you divide up the inheritance of the land, you must set aside part of the land as sacred space for God: approximately seven miles long by six miles wide, all of it holy ground. Within this rectangle, reserve a seven-hundred-fifty-foot square for the Sanctuary with a seventy-five-foot buffer zone surrounding it. Mark off within the sacred reserve a section seven miles long by three miles wide. The Sanctuary with its Holy of Holies will be placed there. This is where the priests will live, those who lead worship in the Sanctuary and serve God there. Their houses will be there along with The Holy Place.
5 “To the north of the sacred reserve, an area roughly seven miles long and two and a quarter miles wide will be set aside as land for the villages of the Levites who administer the affairs of worship in the Sanctuary.
6 “To the south of the sacred reserve, measure off a section seven miles long and about a mile and a half wide for the city itself, an area held in common by the whole family of Israel.
7-8 “The prince gets the land abutting the seven-mile east and west borders of the central sacred square, extending eastward toward the Jordan and westward toward the Mediterranean. This is the prince’s possession in Israel. My princes will no longer bully my people, running roughshod over them. They’ll respect the land as it has been allotted to the tribes.
9-12 “This is the Message of God, the Master: ‘I’ve put up with you long enough, princes of Israel! Quit bullying and taking advantage of my people. Do what’s just and right for a change. Use honest scales—honest weights and honest measures. Every pound must have sixteen ounces. Every gallon must measure four quarts. The ounce is the basic measure for both. And your coins must be honest—no wooden nickels!
Everyone in the Land Must Contribute
13-15 “‘These are the prescribed offerings you are to supply: one-sixtieth part of your wheat, one-sixtieth part of your barley, one-hundredth part of your oil, one sheep out of every two hundred from the lush pastures of Israel. These will be used for the grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings for making the atonement sacrifices for the people. Decree of God, the Master.
16-17 “‘Everyone in the land must contribute to these special offerings that the prince in Israel will administer. It’s the prince’s job to provide the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings at the Holy Festivals, the New Moons, and the Sabbaths—all the commanded feasts among the people of Israel. Sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings for making atonement for the people of Israel are his responsibility.
18-20 “‘This is the Message from God, the Master: On the first day of the first month, take an unblemished bull calf and purify the Sanctuary. The priest is to take blood from the sin offerings and rub it on the doorposts of the Temple, on the four corners of the ledge of the altar, and on the gate entrance to the inside courtyard. Repeat this ritual on the seventh day of the month for anyone who sins without knowing it. In this way you make atonement for the Temple.
21 “‘On the fourteenth day of the first month, you will observe the Passover, a feast of seven days. During the feast you will eat bread made without yeast.
22-23 “‘On Passover, the prince supplies a bull as a sin offering for himself and all the people of the country. Each day for each of the seven days of the feast, he will supply seven bulls and seven rams unblemished as a burnt offering to God, and also each day a male goat.
24 “‘He will supply about five and a half gallons of grain offering and a gallon of oil for each bull and each ram.
25 “‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, and on each of the seven days of the feast, he is to supply the same materials for sin offerings, burnt offerings, grain offerings, and oil.’”
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
It’s complicated! Whew! This is my first thought as we read all the rules for worship while observing in gratitude what God has done for His people. Their relationship with God did seem complicated. Bulls, rams, goats and lambs, without blemish, not to be worshiped as idols, but slaughtered to atone (cover) the sins of the people—even those sins they didn’t know they were doing!
Down through the ages, the priests and religious teachers became political and powerful and made it even more complicated. They bullied their own people—God’s people. The “sacred space” became more and more unholy because of the behaviors of God’s appointed priests and those who worked for them. They made up their own rules as addendums to God’s rules in order to gain more power over the people while politically maneuvering the government who oppressed them so they could use government officials to their advantage as well as stay under the radar of trouble. “It’s complicated” was an understatement describing the muddied relationship God’s people had with Him just before God sent His Son to put an end to the ritual act of atonement for the greater act of redemption.
Atonement means to cover sins but does not remove sins. Redemption is paying the price to remove the debt we owe for our sins. Redemption is complete and final. That’s why scripture says “we were bought at a price” for our sins. (1 Corinthians 6:20) This act of “buying us back” from the punishment we deserve, removed all our sin. When we repent of our sins to Jesus our Redeemer, we are justified and forgiven as if our sins never happened. “O, What A Savior!” indeed, we sing in grateful praise!
IT’S NOT COMPLICATED! Really believe that what Jesus did to redeem us really happened and we are saved by his gift of grace. Jesus forgives us—even when we don’t know what we are doing. Jesus forgives our humbled, repentant, “I’m sorry for my sins and I want you, Jesus to be Lord of my life”. Jesus not only redeems us, He gives us a new life—a life that leads to more life—life eternal with Him! “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” (Ephesians 1:7-8)
Create a sacred space to meet with God each day. It’s important to God and for us. Our relationship with God through Jesus, His Son, is not complicated. God wants us to love Him back like He loves us. The more we realize the love God has for us the deeper our love for Him and others grows. The gospel of John says, “We love Him because He first loved us.” “God is love.” God proves His love as He provides, heals, forgives, saves, protects, delivers us from evil and guides us on a new path. The path won’t be easy but it is the pathway to glory—the sacred place—with God, the God we all crave from the depths of our souls. God supplies our needs and fills hearts, minds and souls with His love, mercy, and grace.
It’s not complicated. Come to Jesus for real life!
Throw that apron over your head, if you must, but get alone with God in a sacred space to grow in grace. You won’t regret it!
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, keeps me singing as I go…”
I believe. You have proved your power to change lives and situations over and over to me. I have seen your glory at work in my life and in the lives of those I love and cherish. You are God. You are Life. You are my Redeemer. You are Hope. You are the One I trust with all my life. I love our simple relationship that is forever. We’re not complicated. Thank you!
In Jesus Name, all for Your Glory, Amen