Erecting Altars

by Jennifer Slatery

My life has been punctuated by a series of, “Are you serious, God?” moments—times when I want to pretend I didn’t hear Him, when I’m convinced He couldn’t possibly have uttered the command I’ve sensed. And there have been way too many times when I’ve been tempted to cloak a disobedient heart in excuses and rationalization.

That burning I felt within while reading that passage—that must have been heartburn. That jolt I felt in my spirit when my pastor gave that sermon—the stage lights must have hit me wrong.

But in this instance, God left no room for doubt, confirming His message numerous times through numerous sources, all in the span of a week. So, with a few reluctant tears, I obeyed. For just over a week, anyway. . .then I started praying for guidance again on the same issue God had so recently given me guidance, as if His instructions came with an expiration date.

They hadn’t. Obedience meant remaining engaged in what He’d already made clear, until He told me otherwise. Trusting, regardless of the delay, that He would be faithful in the wait.

I thought of my reluctant obedience dance with Christ as I was reading about Sarah and Abraham’s journey in Genesis 12. They left their home in response to a dramatic command to leave their country and most of their relatives to go to an undisclosed land.

Abraham obeyed: he, his wife, and their entourage made the long, arduous trek to foreign soil.  The 400-mile journey wasn’t quick or easy. When he arrived in Shechem, where God promised to give that land to his future descendants, Abram built an altar to the Lord.

The thought of descendants must have been astonishing to a 75 year-old childless man. Though He didn’t know it, 25 years would pass before God fulfilled that promise. I imagine the altar that marked the place where he met with God must have reassured Abraham in the wait. And if his experience was anything like mine, remembering would have provided peace and strength for his weary soul.

I’ve learned, if I want to stay strong in Christ and obedient to Him, it helps to fashion my own altars—like notes tucked in my Bible or journal entries stored in my bookshelves. Concrete and irrefutable reminders of those times when God spoke directly to my heart.

Like with the situation I spoke of earlier in this article. If I hadn’t recorded God’s clear commands provided the week before, I could have rationalized them away. Or forgotten them entirely. But regardless of what my temperamental heart longed to believe, I knew God had spoken, and I had determined to obey.

Can you relate to my temptation to discount or rationalize away God’s guidance?

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 NASB

Jennifer Slattery Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, and speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of six contemporary novels and maintains a devotional blog found at She has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, ( she and her team partner with churches to facilitate events designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

Join the conversation: How do you reinforce your determination to obey God’s guidance while you wait?

Photo by Zac Frith from Pexels


2 thoughts on “Erecting Altars

  1. Pray! Pray! Pray! Whenever the Lord gives me guidance and I move forward, it is on my knees, for I have no power to do a thing on my own! Sheri


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