Friday, March 8, 2013

good and best, trials and tribulations

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.
--Psalms 23:4a

I have been meditating and chewing on Psalm 23 for almost a week. Wait, maybe a little over a week. Oh, I don't know, seems like a very very long time.

I was sitting in the car on the way home and began to spontaneously sing that verse over and over again. From there, God began to bring to remembrance other Scriptures that have the same connotation and meaning.  He began to remind me that though a thousand fall at my right side and 10,000 at my left, God is always with me.  He began to confirm and remind my heart that nothing can separate me from His love.  I'm telling you, that Scripture became alive in my heart and I began to believe it.

Then I stopped, and wondered. Umm, God, why are You telling me this now?  Actually, I began to really worry about what He was preparing my heart for when that song by ____ came on the radio. "What if Your blessings come through raindrops..."

I saw a pattern and stopped to wonder. That "umm God" thought came back to my mind and to my heart and I momentarily forgot the truths that had been so alive in my heart a minute or two ago.  But then, I paused again and refocused. 

I started thinking about the circumstances in my life.  I am not currently under persecution and I have been blessed beyond measure.  Christ has been so faithful to my wretched, undeserving heart. I have much to be thankful for and zero to gripe about. I have never lived under such a light yoke (Matthew 11:30) and such dependency on Jesus Christ for sustenance. Indeed, He has been good to me.  Even then, I had been telling the Lord earlier how sick my heart was.  Scripture says "Hope deferred makes the heart sick" and there's been just one thing my heart's been hoping for a very, very long time. And truthfully my heart can become sick over it.  It is not a bad thing, it is a very good thing.  It is a God thing, but it may not be the best (God) thing right now.

Nevertheless, I have seen that in this pattern of waiting for Him, I have sought Him harder and longer, and deeper and stronger than probably anything else could do.  See, I have learned that Jesus knows me best and that He allows the circumstances surrounding my life for the sake of His purpose. He knows what pain will draw us to Him and which will draw us away from Him and He allows it to draw us near (see Hosea 2:6,14). I am seeing my heart's desire as good, He is seeing my heart's sickness in waiting best. Why?  Because it draws me to Him.  My heart longs for Him because of the blatant sickness of my heart over this matter. And deep down inside, my heart knows only He can satisfy (see Ecclesiastes 3:11).

I don't know the entirety of what God was telling me tonight on the car ride home. I don't know if He was referring to the very thing that afflicts my heart, or whether He is telling me I will be walking in the valley of the shadow of death soon, but I know that no matter what, the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He leads me besides quiet waters, He restores my soul; He guides me in the path of righteousness. I know His staff and His rod (discipline) comfort me. And yeah, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for my God, my rock, my refuge and my Christ is with me.


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