Behind Me and Before Me

Ps23_6Psalm 23:6

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life…

I can be sure spring will follow winter. I can be sure the sun will rise tomorrow. And I can be sure—absolutely, positively, without a doubt sure—that God’s goodness and love will follow me, tomorrow and every day.

Whenever I turn around, there they are: goodness and love. God’s goodness and love—constant, pure and generous.

Every day, as long as I live, His goodness and love are mine. I may not be attuned to God’s presence; I may not see evidence that He’s there, but He is, following me with His goodness and love.

His goodness is wholesome and right, kind and honest. It makes me more, not less. It blesses my life and adds to it. It’s behind me, pushing me forward, pressing me on, giving me courage, rooting for me.

And His love? Well, when I love people I bless them, think about them, want to make them happy and be with them. I believe in them, think highly of them, encourage and support them. God’s love is greater and purer than that—and it follows me around.

…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

If what’s behind me is wonderful, look at what’s before me, in my forever after. I will dwell—reside, make my home and be at home in the house of the Lord. I will be in His presence, at His side, under His shelter, forever feasting on His goodness and love. No longer catching mere glimpses but enjoying full disclosure with ever new revelations of His person and greatness, His beauty and wonder.

Lord, I scarce can take in your goodness and love, following me today and awaiting me in my tomorrows—so generous, so undeserved, so pure, so You!


The Bear

I didn’t covet… and I wasn’t envious. Let’s just say I r-e-a-l-l-y appreciated carved bears. In the car, I would comment to my husband about each bear we passed. They’re friendly. They have character. I wanted one.

logTwo weeks ago we had a large pine tree cut down in our yard, so I decided I would make a bear myself. My husband asked the tree cutters to saw off about a three-foot section — I doubt that he told them why. After spending an hour watching bear carving demonstrations online, I knew the awful truth. I can’t carve a bear — I don’t have the neck-to-ankle apron that protects the carver! Okay, it was more than that. Even if I had the apron, I couldn’t wield a chain saw with the precision and control that was needed. And… I realized this would take practice and I only had one log. And… it looked hard! So I quickly converted the plans for my log from a bear to a bench.

Then, for no reason but love, my husband bought me a bear. Be still my heart — I love that bear! I watch him out my kitchen window; I pat him on the head; I say hello when I pull in the driveway; and I’m sure that with the warmer weather, he and I will have great conversations.

bearAs usual, I had imagined the bear carving project would be easier and shorter than it actually is (see my previous Flea Market post). This put me on a contemplative path, thinking about the time and methods needed to turn something good enough into something attractive, usable, endearing.

I like to think that God can simply show me a flaw to work on, or a behavior to correct, or a thought pattern to modify. At most He may have to chisel a little away – you know, gently but firmly with a penknife. But, let’s face it, sometimes it requires a chain saw, motor roaring, chips flying, chunks falling to the ground. I have been there and it’s kind of where I’ve now been for a couple of months. But of this I am sure, when the roar dies down and the stench of the fuel stops, when the chips are swept away and I’m covered with a protective preservative, I’ll be a better bear.

I will reflect the loving skill of my Creator. I’ll be more attractive to Him and to others. I’ll be usable and, hopefully, I will endear others to Him and bring Him pleasure.