"Forty years later, in the desert near Mount Sinai, an angel appeared to Moses in the flame of a burning bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. As he went to take a closer look, the voice of the Lord called out to him, ‘I am the God of your ancestors – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses shook with terror and did not dare to look. Then the Lord said to him, “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groans and have come down to rescue them." (Acts 7:30-33)
Moses came close to observe a burning bush – one that goes against all nature. And in the going, God spoke out. Terror shook this man to the core. When God speaks, something in us needs to respond. And maybe the response should sometimes be the removal of our sandals – a recognition that we have entered a holy place.
For the God of the universe to speak a word, or show a sign of Presence, shouldn’t that stop us in our tracks?
One day after speaking at a church event, a woman approached me, waiting in line for her turn. When our eyes met, she wept. “God spoke through you for me today! It was for me!”
And God birthed immediate compassion in me for this woman’s suffering, though she was a stranger to me and not really able to articulate the depth of her pain. It didn’t matter. Because God showed up. And I heard Him more clearly than her. He nudged, “Tell her how to see my love. Encourage her to number the gifts I’ve given.”
I knew in the moment that something special was happening. Just as Moses knew something was up. But not until God told him to remove his shoes did he understand he was walking on holy ground. And not until I reread this familiar story did I actually understand that I, too, was on holy ground at the afternoon tea.
I will never forget this dear woman’s pleading tears desiring to feel God’s presence again in her life. I prayed for her. I made the request on her behalf, to wash over her with love and mercy. I asked the Lord to open her eyes to see the beauty and grace of His deep and passionate love for her. I prayed for comfort and holy confidence that she not feel being alone in this dark and scary world. I asked God for the miracle of hope in her heart.
Then I took her hand as she cried, tears that God was catching, bottling up even then.
And I suddenly realized I was on holy ground! The Lord had touch a broken soul… and lit a bush beside her darkness.
I wonder how often God has appeared in and around me, and I’ve missed Him.
To consider: Sitting for a moment in stillness, and inviting the Holy Spirit to remind you of a moment when you were on holy ground.