Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How long????

In my morning scripture readings this week, Psalms 13 resonated.

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
"How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?"


At different points in our lives, we deal with the "how longs."

How long will it be before I can make a living from my photography?
How long before my Christian book is published?
How long will it be before we can travel extensively again?
How long will it be before I can go back to Africa - both for photography and for missions?
How long will it be before I lose the weight I need to lose?
How long will it take me to get back "in shape?"
How long until Henry's book sales take off?

What are your "how longs?" How long until my baby sleeps through the night? How long until the baby is out of diapers? How long until all my children are in school? How long until my next vacation? How long until all my children are grown and out of the house? (I always enjoyed my children - I was in no hurry for them to grow up.) How long until the next promotion or raise? How long until I can retire? How long do I have to endure this miserable boss?

We all have things that we are "waiting" for. It can become: "I will be happy when . . . "

But our goals are constantly in transition. If we wait to be happy "when," often when that event occurs we are already waiting for the next "when." If we are not careful, we can spend out entire lives waiting for an elusive moment to be "happy."

In Psalm 13, David is dealing with real enemies who want to kill him. David had many trials in his life - a king who feared him and wanted him dead, a son who led a rebellion, a son who died from illness . . . He expressed that sorrow and grief: "How long?????"

But as in many psalms, grief, sorrow, and worry end with words of hope:

"But I trust in your unfailing love,
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
for He has been good to me.
"

Sometimes we miss out on joyful moments because of worries. When I look back on Mother's Day 2007, I have good memories. It was truly a special Mother's Day, Evelyn and Gene were still living at home. We had a wonderful celebration on both Saturday and Sunday. But it was bittersweet at the time because we knew that Gene was not very healthy - and in many ways that cast a shadow. A year later, I appreciate that Mother's Day probably more than I did at the time, because Evelyn was very ill this Mother's Day. She is healthier now (thank you God!), but Mother's Day this year was painful. Looking back, I don't think I fully appreciated Mother's Day 2007 - and now I appreciate it so much more.

So this Psalm reminded me to look at the things in my life that I am grateful for RIGHT NOW! It is so easy to focus on the things that you need to improve or that you "wish" would happen and be blind to the good things going on in your life right now.

We can't live in the past, we can't live in the future . . . we live in the present. I have wonderful memories of my past - so wonderful that it is easy to grieve that I am not living in those times now. In watching the generation above me age and endure the discomforts of old age, it is easy to worry about the future. But I have little control over that. I may age into a "healthy" senior citizen, or I may have dozens of age related diseases - there is no way to know right now. But when I worry about an unknown future, it robs me of the joys of today. And Jesus taught in Matthew 6: " Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

I think that sometimes "happiness" sneaks up on us, a byproduct of daily living. I think it helps to take time for regularly for reflection. Psalm 18 helped remind me to look at my life right now and appreciate the good things. I have a loving family, I enjoy watching the birds almost every morning, we have pets that show us unconditional love every day. I have just had two photos published! I can get up every morning, I can walk through my house, I can see the sunrise, I can hear the birds sing . . . I need to be careful and not take these simple blessings for granted.

Psalm 118:24 reminds me: "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

The Zambian Christians have a saying that is a mantra in both good times and bad: "God is good all the time. All the time God is good."

May God help me experience this joy in Him every day!

1 comment:

Ruth Hiebert said...

Greeting Sister,
How refreshing to find a blog that openly shares Christ.Also checked out your photos,WOW!!!
I do a little photography so this is very inspiring.