I’m writing on a rainswept Tuesday. Grey on the outside and grey on the inside too.
The washing spins along with my brain. I need to do a million things. I’m bored and I’m busy; I’m tired and I’m wired.
My heart says: This world is out of control. Where’s God in coronavirus or a tantruming child? What’s most real: bills and greasy dishes; or a kingdom I can’t see?
I need a safe space where I can reset. I need silence so I can think. A holiday, away from it all. A trip to the hairdresser or maybe a walk. A gripping podcast, a glass of wine. A lie-in or a film. An evening with friends.
In God’s grace and in time, these things may come. But right now, on this Tuesday, what do I need?
I open Psalm 77 and expect answers. Instead I’m confronted with questions…
Has God’s promise failed forevermore?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up His tender mercies?
I’m seeking comfort and earthly security and coming up empty. Here the Psalmist reminds me of what I already have — and it’s beyond valuable: God’s unfailing and infallible promises, his grace and his tender mercies. I’m not promised changed circumstances or a more capable version of myself. Instead of focusing on my capacities (or weaknesses), the Psalmist reminds me of God’s.
I will remember the works of the LORD;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
I will also meditate on all Your work,
And talk of Your deeds, (Ps 77:11-12).
My children demand what they think they need, but I have something so much better. They’re tired; and don’t want to sleep. They’re hungry; and refuse their food.
I look at them and I love them, even as I tell them ‘no.’
Switch off the cartoons. Instead, come spend time with me. When your tears flow and your toys break, don’t look to sweets or a screen. It’s colourful and bright and easy. But I’ll tell you who you really are. I’ll wrap my arms around you and give you exactly what you need.
And when I think to myself, ‘God’s lost His way,’ the Psalmist reminds me;
Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
You led your people like a flock (v19-20)
I’m lost and anxious and chasing my tail. But I’ve got a Lord who knows what I need and He’ll lead me—even through the mighty waters. In the end what I really need is not the destination, or even a smooth journey. What I need is what I have — a Good Shepherd.