Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Psalm 23:6 (ESV)
Sitting here this morning a smile again crosses my face as I recall a story I heard from a good friend yesterday.
The way the story went was that it seems that an everyday, typical Dad–I can identify–had been listening patiently as his three children–one age ten, another age seven, and the last one, four–complained about how bad they had it in their home. None of their friends had to do what they had to do around the house, and their friends’ parents always got them this-and-that to help them and to play with.
The ordinary, everyday Dad–if there really is such a thing–finally had heard enough and launched into a diatribe of how good they really had it, telling his children that when he was little like them he didn’t have all the clothes they had to wear, or not nearly any of the toys they had to play with. He had to walk to school whether it was sunshine or rain. I didn’t hear this part in the story, but I’ll bet his walk to school was like the one I seemed to recall when I had to remind my son, Nathan, or my Granddaughters how good they had it–since my walk was uphill both to school and back, without shoes, and made without any help, whether it was snowing or forty-degrees below zero. At least that’s how I remember it.
When the Dad had finished telling his children how bad he had it as a child–a brief, thoughtful moment of silence was interrupted as his four-year-old son empathically shared:
“Boy Dad, I’ll bet you’re glad you live with us now!”
Have you walked up any hills lately that seemed to go on and on and on? Without shoes? Or did it just feel that way? Have you had to travel any days lately through “snowstorms”, or rainstorms that seemed to wash out your plans, searing heat or freezing temperatures that never allowed you to get comfortable and find your stride?
I hope not, but I suspect you have. And if life is anything like we’ve noticed or experienced up until now–we will probably experience a few more of those hills, rough patches of weather, and other moments we will feel ill-equipped to handle. And in our own power and with our own wisdom we probably can’t handle them. But, as David reminds us in Psalm 23, above, we don’t have to handle them alone.
Here’s the point which David found to be true–no matter where we find ourselves, no matter what we face, no matter how many others tell us we can’t, no matter how often we feel less, no matter how many times we fall and fail–God’s goodness and mercy continues to follow us and is with us always.
Notice that David doesn’t say: “maybe,” or “possibly,” or “there’s a chance” that God’s goodness and mercy will follow us. He says “surely” God’s goodness and mercy will follow us. No doubt. Even when we forget Him for a time–He’s there. Even when we fall away from the path He wants us on–He’s there. Even when we are faithless–He is faithful and is there.
Surely there is God’s “goodness” to supply our every need, and His “mercy” to forgive our every sin. That’s what it says! Then what, as if that isn’t enough? Then He follows us! He pursues us, chases us, and tracks us down. Frances Thompson, in his poem “The Hound of Heaven” refers to God as that persistent Hound from Heaven who will always pursue us. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, refers to God’s chasing after us as God’s “prevenient Grace.” In His love for us He seeks after us–time and time again–until we enter into that saving relationship with Him.
The God David had experienced and the God of all creation who created each of us–follows us every day no matter what we are going through and where we are. As God followed Moses into the wilderness–He follows us in our journeys. As God came after Jonah with a big fish–He comes after us to turn us back toward Him. As Christ walked on water out to His disciples in their boat caught in a storm at sea–He walks to us in our troubles. As Christ met the Samaritan woman at the well–He meets us in our moments of need. As Christ embraced Peter, forgave him and set him on a better course–He embraces us, forgives us and puts our feet on the sunshine of a new path.
Through whatever we face, wherever we are, through our fears and doubts, through our failures and fallings–through to the very end of it all–surely God’s goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives, and we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Aren’t you glad that’s the God, and the family, you are with now? If you’re not there yet–why not be? Why not have the God of all the universe in your court today and forever?
Surely that is a life worth living–no matter what we face.
In His Name–Scott
Copyright 2012. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.