But I did today.
I had a dream last night...a dream of disarray, of inconclusion, of hoplessness, of incomplete instruction and unclear future.
Well, a dream of dirty laundry, actually. Piles of it everywhere. I couldn't walk without tripping over it, rags and sheets and t-shirts. I kept tripping every time I took a step. I felt tied up. Strangled by it. And I was alone in the house, abandoned with no one to help. No one to tell me what to do. Nowhere firm to step.
Then I woke up and read about Abram.
So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the LORD.--Genesis 13:18
There really is a connection, at least a perceived one.
Abram had been following God's instruction. He'd been going where God sent him, but nothing good had happened there. God told him to go to Haran and made him a promise there, but nothing changed. God sent him to Canaan, and he got nothing but famine. God sent him to Egypt, and he got in trouble with the Pharaoh. God sent him to Bethel and Lot got the best of the land they found there.
No fulfillment of the promise God kept making. Just more promises. He didn't even have his final name yet.
And what did he do? He built an altar. A place to worship. A place to remember. Remember what, I want to know? Nothing had happened yet. Nothing good, at least.
It felt like my dream of laundry. Piles all around. Endless work. Enough to trip over. All the promises God makes but no indication of Him keeping them. Roadblocks. Hopelessness. Confusion.
And Abram built an altar.
Not because of what God had done, but because he needed it.
He needed a stone that didn't move, that he could kick at or cling to.
He needed to remind himself who God really is. He needed something concrete, that didn't move like tents, like sheep, like nephews who take the best for themselves.
The altar was not just a place to worship, it was a place that wouldn't move or change. A place like God Himself. He needed a place to hang on.
Kind of like this:
I don't like waiting. Not necessarily because I don't trust God, but because I rarely know what to hang onto while I'm waiting. I don't have a place to build the stone altar Abram did. But I have to have one anyway, so I'm going to have to build my own altar in the place Christ taught...
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong.--Ephesians 3:17
I don't build my altar out of rocks. I carry it with me wherever I go. My Rock. My touchstone. My love. My trust. The only altar God wants anymore. And the only one I need.
If I can do that, eventually, my laundry will look like this: