Saturday, July 04, 2009

He Said "Surely"

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever."
Psalm 23:6
Hello All,

I run the risk of trivializing Holy Scripture with a current sports analogy, but I hope that you might indulge me for a paragraph or two. Recently, the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic for 2008-2009 NBA World Championship. To say that I was elated is to diminish my excitement! I have been a Laker fan since 1980 when they beat the Philadelphia 76ers. I have watched the ups and downs and enjoyed the ride.

This last championship run, I watched most of the games as they happened, though I admit that I watch them through an open hand, sort of like kids do when they watch scary movies. They want to see it all, but the pressure is almost too much. It's the same with me and the playoff games as they happen. Will they win or lose? Will it be a heartbreaker? Truthfully, my heart can barely handle the pressure.

But then, in just about 2 months from the end of the finals (July 14th to be exact), I will be watching the highlights of the playoffs on the year end DVD. By then, watching the games will be a very different experience. There will be enjoyment of every play, even an appreciation and admiration of the "enemy" players. All the drama will be simulated and accentuated by music, but the outcome, the true source of tension, will be established. No matter how the game appears, the end is determined.

Perhaps our lives are much like this. Here is where the scripture comes in.

Recently I decided to spend the day studying Psalm 23. As is usual with familiar passages, most of the phrases and words have been studied and dissected. However, in the wonder of God's Word, there is always a timely piece that brings meaning and encouragement, perhaps more than it's whole. The verse that I zeroed in on is verse 6. David writes, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life."

Notice the certainty: "Surely." There is not a shred of doubt in this verse. It's a given, a promise, a guaranteed condition for those who have joy in their relationship to their Shepherd. It's a human condition to waver and doubt, but upon full analysis, one comes to the conclusion that there is nothing more sure than God's benevolent hand delivering His to the greatness of "goodness and mercy."

This does not mean that there are not questionable moments along the way. This does not negate the questions of the moment, which are often asked along the journey. "Where are you in this?" or "Why is this happening?" The paralysis of our hearts is in the moment when we are right in the middle of a story that God is writing and that we are living. It's there where the pressure mounts and we can hardly stand to anticipate anything good.

But David knew: "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life."

As I look back that has been the case over and over again. Whether it was a personal crisis or a professional one, goodness and mercy have followed me. They will continue to be by-products of my walk with the Lord.

I was thinking the other day about an exchange that I have witnessed several times. It's the family gathering where a Father and Mother sit with their now grown children and talk with great humor about all that had gone before. "Remember when we didn't have any food in the cupboards...," "Remember when his hair lit on fire...," "And then she swallowed a whole pack of gum." All such moments had proved stressful when they happened. There were crises of faith, tests of determination to trust in the Lord's goodness. In those moments, as they happened, there were cries of doubt and fear. However, as the years pass and the moment passes with it, there is a joy in the remembrance.

How is that possible? God's goodness and mercy flowed out and answered the crisis and answered the questions that once plagued the mind. Looking back reveals that God proved Himself faithful again, quieting our anxious hearts and minds and giving joy and rest in it's place.

Today, on the cusp of uncertainty, no matter the circumstance, we can remind ourselves that it's a foregone conclusion that only time keeps from us: Goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives.

Thank you Lord for being our Shepherd.

Blessings...To Our Friends...And Fellow Sheep!,
Frank Sanchez

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