by Pastor Jose L. Pérez
“Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them” Exodus 25:8
Humanity seems to be on a constant quest for fulfillment. Anxiety and dissatisfaction are on the rise, along with the desperate search for anything that can bring peace, prosperity and happiness. As the years go by, the age of those affected seems to be getting younger and younger. The ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) found that of the forty million U.S. adults who suffer from some kind of anxiety disorder, 75% of them have experienced episodes before the age of 22.
A survey done by the Associated Press and mtvU found that 80% of college students experience stress on a daily basis, 34% have felt depressed at some point in the past three months, and 13% have been diagnosed with a mental health condition such as an anxiety disorder or depression.
So where do we turn when life seems to overwhelm us? Often we pour ourselves into school, work, politics and/or humanitarian causes to give us purpose. And although those are good things to be involved in, they don’t entirely make us happy. What are we missing?
The Bible says that we were created by God and that only by living a close relationship with Him can our souls find rest. The earthly sanctuary – built by Moses (Exodus 40:2, 32-35) and Solomon (2 Samuel 7:14-17), then rebuilt by Zerubbabel and embellished by Herod – was a copy of the sanctuary in heaven. The purpose of God in ordering Moses to build this tabernacle was to teach us the lesson of His great love for us, as well as to visibly show us that He had a plan to satisfy our physical, mental, spiritual, and material needs.
God’s ultimate purpose was to maintain His divine presence among His people on earth, in spite of the rebellion of his children. He wanted to re-establish the direct line of communication that was disrupted when Adam and Eve sinned. His plan was to create in us a “kingdom of priests, my holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). We are to be His representatives among men. This is the sanctuary message. No more will we need to drink from the polluted fountains of this world. Christ alone is our sanctuary, our Hope.
Our Heavenly Father understands the trials we encounter on our way to heaven. He is a constant presence in our lives, using our trials to refine our character, chipping away at our sinful nature so that we can become who we were created to be. He says “tell the exiles, this is what the Sovereign says: Although I have scattered you in the countries of the world, I will be a sanctuary to you during the time in your exile.” Ezekiel 11:16
This is great news! It means that we worship a God who continually seeks us, building us up and fortifying us. We worship a God who longs to be in our midst. We worship a God who is our sanctuary, our stronghold in times of anxiety, depression, and strife. He offers us the keys to ultimate satisfaction. We just need to let Him.