The Sheep Dogs

I used to think that as my life progressed I would eventually be able to just sit on the deck drinking my tea and exhale.  The thinking was that life would be so good that I could sit back and enjoy it.  It wasn't long after that kind of thinking that God made me grow up a little bit.  Now, to be truthful, I do get to sit on my porch or deck drinking whatever and realize that life is very good.  God, in His amazing kindness, lets me breath air.   In fact, my daughter Lydia and I sat on the front porch last night as we watched the lightning light up the sky (And, yes, it rained, in July, here in Washington state.).

Being on the down slope of life it has been helpful to realize that there are always ups and downs.  I knew this to begin with but experience is an excellent teacher.  And being the teacher that it is forces us to look harder at the moments of our lives.   I used to think that I was an optimist as my personality tended to lean in that direction.  But then I wondered if I was more pollyannish because I didn't think large thoughts and that the well didn't go so deep.  Well, in God's sovereignty, I married a deep well.   And I do believe that God is all about drilling wells that go deep.  Now I like to think that I'm more of a realist with hopeful anticipation.  But that thought will be on a good day thinking good thoughts about God and life.  On other days when the battle in raging in my heart and I am fighting for joy personality traits don't even matter.

What does matter is God.  Coming to grips with the fact that life really isn't about me after all but about Him.  It's His story and I am just an itsy bitsy tiny speck in the grand scheme of things.  You would think that this fact would make me feel small and inconsequential but the opposite is true.  In one aspect I do feel small, am small.  God can run the universe without my help or opinion and has for much longer than I can imagine.  But then I watch the night sky light up and hear the rolling thunder and am overcome with the awareness of a Supreme One who has condescended to me.  So even though I am small and inconsequential I feel cherished and important.  It is an amazing grace extended to me in  Christ and I am finding the older I get (and possibly more feeble) the more it means to me.  When I read in Psalm 16:5-6 "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 can say a hearty "Amen" and sit on my porch and exhale.  When God is my portion all of life is pleasant even when it seems difficult.

A theologian once said that God has two sheep dogs called "Goodness" and "Mercy" and as I read in Psalm 23 goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.  Just like a sheep dog chasing after and protecting the sheep so will God's sheepdogs follow me.  Now I may wonder what goodness and mercy look like because there are many times that life doesn't seem to pleasant.  Nevertheless in God's economy this is what it is.  So next week when I go in for the two drug chemotherapy, knowing that this will also produce a number of days of flu like symptoms, somehow the Lord's sheepdogs will follow me.  I may not understand it or feel it but knowing that this promise is mine in Christ gives me hope for the future.  Even now I know that I have a beautiful inheritance.

As an update:  I didn't have chemo this week as the oncologist knows that I will want to take a week off in August (confusing, I know but somehow it works out).  So I have felt pretty good and have been able to get much done.   I am half way through my six sessions of three.  This means the first week being where I receive both of the chemotherapy drugs followed by two weeks of just the one drug.   We have family around and tomorrow will celebrate with the church family the beginning of a new season.  One in which it seems like loss but, again, in God's economy the possibilities are more than I can see because goodness and mercy are following us.

"Teach me, gracious Lord and Savior,
that with my cross thou sendest promised grace so that I may bear it patiently,
that my cross is thy yoke which is easy, and thy burden which is light."
                                                                                                                 ~ Valley of Vision

Romans 15:13