I started memorizing this passage over 7 months ago.
Of course, I had no idea what life would look like now, at the beginning of April and somewhere in the midst of a quarantine with no end in sight.
With the exception of an occasional Zoom meeting, I haven’t seen anyone who has a different last name than mine in a long, long time. As a result, I have pretty much stopped blow drying my hair. A little make-up somedays, but hair drying? There didn’t seem to be a point, until there was . . .
The other day, I got my hair dryer out and began the 5 minute or so process of drying my locks. I fell back into the routine of the procedure easy enough. It had not been long enough for me to have forgotten how, but I quickly realized that maybe I should make it part of my self-care routine during this time of social distancing.
As I turned off and unplugged the dryer I turned to my husband and said, “Wow. I haven’t done that for awhile!” I ran my fingers through my freshly, washed and dried hair. I felt good. It was a satisfying feeling that it wasn’t frizzy or tired looking for the first time in well over a week.
He answered back, “What? Recited scripture?”
The Holy Spirit used his innocent question to prick my spirit. You see, I use the 5 or so minutes it takes to dry my hair to practice the scripture that I am working on memorizing. Practicing the passage I recite it out loud with the hum of the dryer. I had not only neglected drying my hair, I had also neglected my scripture memory and mediation. With his question, the Holy Spirit seemed to nudge my attention back to this psalm that I had been working on. Psalm 16 has been my main focus for the last 7 or so months.
I have written about Him doing this before. On February 5, verse 4 was my focus. (You can check it out here.) Now, here I am almost 2 months later. Life looks COMPLETELY different, and once again, God is using this passage to speak to my heart:
“You Will Not Abandon My Soul
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.'”
Who can preserve me but God? Who is able to protect me from this virus? Who can rescue me from my own fears and insecurities? He alone is the source of ALL good things in this life now and in the life to come. He will NOT abandon my soul. Any good I try to muster up on my own or find a part from Him will always, eventually let me down.
“As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.”
I miss the saints. As a minister’s wife, a church employee, and just as someone who has been a church member for a long time, sometimes the saints can be “challenging” and “fascinating” to interact with. But now, as I can’t be with them, their absence has definitely made their memory so much more fonder. I value those relationships. I know what it means to delight in them. Just seeing their faces on my computer screen brings a smile to mine. It has been good to Zoom with my Bunco Girls, some of my preschool staff and the young adults I Bible study with.
“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed I have a beautiful inheritance.”
I have no control over what is happening outside my front door. From the weather forecast to the rising virus diagnosis rate, there is no thing that I can do to contribute or really influence what is or isn’t happening in the world. Ah, but God . . He can and is and will. So, I am intentionally choosing Him. He is my portion. He is my cup. He holds my lot. I intentionally choose to trust Him.
Our lines are not huge. But what they outline is bigger than others. We are blessed. Our family of 5 share 2 and a half baths. We have 4 bedrooms to retreat to and a yard to soak up vitamin D in. For the most part, we all get along and enjoy each other’s company. These lines have fallen in very pleasant places. I can acknowledge these days as gifts. Not everyone can. And as I listen to my daughters laughing and playing in the next room even now, I am reminded that I do indeed have a very beautiful inheritance.
I have a lot to be thankful for.
“I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”
With the forced clearing of my agenda and my plans, with looming fears of an uncertain timing to an undetermined future it is easy to become overwhelmed – but, remember from verse 5- He is my chosen portion. He is the source of my counsel. I don’t need the government or a CPA or a news reporter or a Facebook friend or anyone else to advise me. He is my origin of wisdom.
After all day, the mental, emotional and spiritual battle within me becomes exhausting. It is then I am at my weakest. I am my most vulnerable. I find myself falling asleep as I pray, turning all my worries over to Him. In the morning, with the dawn, my heart feels renewed. I can tell His mercies are new. With Him intentionally set before me, I am ready to face another day, this day with the assurance that I shall not be shaken. He is not only with me. He is at my right hand and has promised to never leave.
“Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.”
The word “therefore” is “here” for a purpose. Because He is at my right hand, because He is my counsel, and because I know He won’t allow me to be shaken my heart IS glad. I have belly laughed with my oldest daughter. I have danced in the kitchen with my younger two daughters. I have enjoyed yummy comfort food with my husband. We are rejoicing in the graces He has given us today.
No matter what ailments may befall my flesh, my security is the fact that one day I will receive a new body. This one was temporary from the start. He will not abandon me in whatever hell on earth lies ahead. God will not allow my spirit to be defeated. My hope is in Him, the One who protects and preserves me.
“You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right had are pleasures forevermore.”
In the meantime, in this life, before the commencement of eternity, He gives me the knowledge to live this life the way He designed it to be lived, in a relationship with Him. As I seek Him, He leads and guides and shows me. Yet, I have to be “with” Him, in His presence to experience this life the way He intended, life to the full.
When I am in His presence my joy is full. Happiness depends on what is “happening” around us, but joy, that is something SO much more. Joy is found just “being” in His presence where He grows our faith to trust that at His right hand are pleasures for us for forevermore. I am so easily distracted by lesser things that I think will bring me joy. They might give me some happiness for a time. However, during this season I am learning the value of just being in His presence in a whole new way and finding it easier to trust that the pleasures waiting for me at His right hand are truly pleasurable.
So I dried my hair again this morning. I didn’t “have to.” I wanted to. I wanted to mediate on these words. I wanted to thank God that He holds my lot and that He has drawn my lines in pleasant places. I wanted to ask Him to continue to grow my faith and to help me intentionally set Him before me that I may not be shaken.
I am amazed that He has me learning this passage months ago. He knew I would need them today. He is speaking. Am I listening?
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