By Sharon Ruff—

Restlessness compelled me to ask, What am I doing? My heart longed to be in God’s presence. But I realized that I had fallen into that common deception of loving and honoring the work I was doing for God more than loving and honoring Him. Like so many others, I had become just another fast-food Christian.

I, too, had settled for living my spiritual life by simply stopping off at times for a quick, unsatisfying bite with God. But this sort of spiritual nibbling provided me no real value or sustenance; it would never satisfy my heart’s true hunger.

I realized I needed to seek the place where we Christians go when we are restless, running, or desperate for God; I needed to seek Bethel. Even though Bethel in Hebrew means “House of God,” it is not an actual place or residence at all. Instead, Bethel is a presence.

Bethel is the place where sometimes the most you can utter is “Oh, God. . .” because there are no words to adequately describe your circumstances. Bethel is where you weep before the Lord waiting for His consolation. In the Old Testament, Jacob’s Bethel was a rock in the wilderness on which he slept exhausted from fleeing from his murderous brother. When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” (Gen 28:16) He called that place Bethel.

Once you have experienced the wonder and presence of Bethel, you long to return.  One of my own friends feeling her need to reconnect with the Lord, recited this heart cry:

Lord, help me relocate my Bethel

Lord, will You please meet me there

As I come, I’ll throw off all my baggage

And return to You, with heart open and bare

Begin your journey right where you are. Simply express your desire to God and let Him guide you to the place He has already prepared. He’s waiting to restore your spirit, soul, and body in His presence.

LET’S PRAY:  God, I’m not satisfied with a drive-through relationship. I long for an intimate, undistracted time with You. Show me how. Show me where. Show me when. I’m going Back to Bethel. I can’t wait! 





Sharon RuffSharon Ruff: Sharon makes her home in West Michigan near her children and grandchildren. She has been a widow for over a decade after being married for 30 years; fifteen of which were spent caring for her husband who suffered from MS. During those wilderness years of isolation and despair, God gave her hope from Jeremiah 29:11. He also assured her that He would restore the years the locust had eaten. He has since graced her with many opportunities to heal, learn, grow, and serve in women’s ministry through Bible Studies, retreats, conferences and personal ministry. She has also ministered in the Ukraine and Africa at women’s conferences.


  1. 2-24-2014

    What a great reminder to soak in the presence of God. It is what He longs for from us. I forgot God has all the Love Languages, I think quality time just might be His #1. Love this Sharon.

  2. 2-24-2014

    Yes, I like that Karen. His love language, quality time.

  3. 2-24-2014

    Sharon – thank you so much for the soul nourishment! I needed that today and the word Bethel is so special to me as the church I grew up in was Bethel Lutheran Church where I was accepted and loved and thrived during my difficult growing up years. I am still in a place where I need to constantly make space for His direction and wisdom. Thank you again for the beauty of your words and the reminder that we benefit when we take the time to pursue His heart.

  4. 2-24-2014

    Oh, Sharon, how I needed to hear this word speak to my heart this morning. It’s way too easy for me to get caught up in the “doing.” I may be doing good things, but how quickly I become a Martha instead of choosing the better thing like Mary did. Thank you!

    • 2-25-2014

      So grateful that it spoke to your heart Ava. Thank you.

  5. 2-24-2014

    Your post confirmed a scripture that keeps coming up for me: Genesis 28:16. Thank you, Sharon!

    • 2-25-2014

      Yes, and Amen!

  6. 3-3-2014

    I loved this devo. Its a reminder to me to just “be” in God’s Presence throughout my day, to have an awareness He is at work. I ask for eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to understand. God, you know I can get caught up in nibbling, but I want to devour your Presence, to live out of the true self you created me to be. Even almost at the age of 60 I believe there is so much more in store.

    • 8-29-2014

      Bless your heart Bev. So grateful that you see ahead to the blessings God has waiting for this season of your life.

  7. 3-3-2014

    Loved this devotion Sharon! I know too that I cannot thrive on spiritual nibbling. As an intercessor I need greater amounts of time with God to refresh and refill my soul, mind, and spirit. Yes, in undistracted times with God we can drink deeply and bask in His presence!

    • 8-29-2014

      Yes, I agree Pam. The more we are “giving out” the more we need to pause and drink deeply. Our life and the lives of others depend upon it.

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