The Land of the Living

Psalm 27:1-6,13-14

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me
to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—
they shall stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.
4 One thing I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the LORD,
and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will set me high on a rock.
6 Now my head is lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the LORD
13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!”  NRSV

If I had one to pick one verse on which to hang the driving purpose of my ministry it could easily be verse thirteen of Psalm 27, “I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” For me, it is not a belief statement but a testimony. I have seen the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!

I see the goodness of the LORD every time I stand behind the pulpit and look at the faces looking back at me. I see it in the men I am privileged to work with through my men’s ministry. I have seen it in the countless pastors and lay people I have known over forty years of ministry. I see it in the faces of those willing to stand up for justice and speak truth to power. I see it in Nora’s face and in the face of our children and grandchildren.

Goodness is a condition of the heart. Those who love unconditionally and, yes, sacrificially, when warranted, who strive to make the world a better place for everyone are the very goodness of God in the world.

Goodness is all about helping someone’s next breath come easier and deeper than the one before it. Easier and deeper because a shadow or a chain or an attitude or an obstacle has been turned away, released, or set aside because of another’s expressed goodness. I have been richly blessed to see a lot of goodness in my life. I choose to not let the suffering, disappointments, loss, and challenges I have had to face, like everyone else, block my view of all the goodness. How  about you?

I do not see enough, yet, to satisfy my longing for goodness, that hunger to set all people free to breathe deep and easy, but I see enough to keep me faith in God astir, and certainly enough to say “I have seen the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living…
because I know you!

Be a blessing to someone today!

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