You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. Psalm 31:8
This morning the Psalm in my daily reading was Psalm 31. It includes a phrase that a dear believer prayed over me when I was first saved – that God would bring me out into a “spacious place.”
When I read the phrase “spacious place” it always reminds me of her prayer. Today I was also reminded of the Hebrew word yasha used in Psalm 34:18. It means at its root to be open, wide or free, make wide, spacious (i.e. deliver).
The Lord is near (in place, in time, in personal relationship, in kinship, father, brother, friend)
to the brokenhearted (the heart, mind, soul that is broken, maimed, crippled, wrecked, crushed, shattered)
and saves (delivers, liberates, gives victory to, defends, helps, preserves, rescues, keeps safe, brings into the spacious place, open, wide, free)
the crushed (crushed to dust, destroyed, contrite) in spirit. Psalm 34:18 (ESV)
All these years – 50 last October – of following the Lord and studying his Word, in the back of my mind has always been that prayer prayed over me and the “spacious place.” I am still not there yet. I have been coming from a place of brokenheartedness for so long, maimed, crippled, wrecked, crushed, shattered, that, until today, I was not even sure what the spacious place is for sure. But then I found this blog by Christopher Page called In a Spacious Place https://inaspaciousplace.wordpress.com/introduction/
Here are two paragraphs from near the end that especially spoke to me:
“When we sit in silent prayer we are encountering at a cellular level that our lives are a gift. There is nothing we need to do except receive that gift. The purpose of my life is to breathe. When I start from this place of absolute openness and receptivity, I will act and live with a new consciousness.
This practice of silent prayer is not an escape from reality. It is not an avoidance of the confused mess of life. Centering Prayer is a constant return to reality. It is a daily reaffirmation of the most fundamental truth about my life. I am a child of God. My identity lies in Christ, not in anything I do, own, or achieve. When I am clear about my identity, the rest of my life and my activities will come from that deep inner place of light and life in which the flow of God’s Spirit is my strength and my guide throughout my life.” (emphasis mine)
Could coming out into the spacious place be finding my true identity? The place where I am saved delivered, liberated, given victory, defended, rescued, brought out into freedom? Freedom from all the lies about me, seemingly engraved into the granite-hard places of my heart? Freedom from that dark place where I constantly “wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? (Psalm 13:2)” The spacious place of rest where I stop thrashing about trying to figure out how to be wonderful, how to be accepted, what I need to do to gain that unconditional love for which my heart yearns. The place where I just breathe.
Interestingly, The Message translates Psalm 31:7-8 this way:
I’m leaping and singing in the circle of your love;
you saw my pain,
you disarmed my tormentors,
You didn’t leave me in their clutches
but gave me room to breathe.
That’s where God wants to set my feet. Where I have room to breathe, where there is this free gift waiting. In Job 36:16 it says this:
He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food. Job 36:16
The Spirit is always wooing, saying, Come out into the “spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food (with fatness, abundance, luxuriance, richness, the oil of gladness, healing, consecration, blessing, my Presence).” It is a free gift – packed down, overflowing, more than we can ever ask or think – and nothing of our doing.
“My salvation rests in him alone and is nothing of my doing.” (cf. Psalm 62:21)
“The motivating force behind my life is the Christ Journey in which I live and breathe in the presence of God and allow all life to open from the place of presence and love that is God’s Spirit.” — Christopher Page
1Paraphrase from Grace Nugget for 2.9.23 https://builtwithgrace.com/2023/02/09/grace-nugget-for-2-9-23/
Photo copyright by Jack Bair