Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pleasant Paths

"The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places;
yea, I have a goodly heritage" Psalm 16:6

This is a lovely walkway in the resort where we stayed on the Costa del Sol in Spain some years ago.  The tiles provide a level, smooth path, while the white walls and iron grilled window offers safety from harmful outside elements.  Add to that the beautiful, colorful flowers and greenery and you have a pleasant place to walk and enjoy the day.

This pathway is in great contrast to dirty, dangerous roads that many in this world must trod -- yet, this is the sort of pathway that we are sometimes privileged to traverse.  Should we feel guilty because our pathways are easier and more desirable than many others?  Or, should we spurn this pathway on which God has placed us because it is too beautiful?

I confess, I've sometimes felt guilt over the pleasant lines God has blessed me with (and no, my life is far from perfect, just often very good).  Have you ever experienced such guilt?  We don't understand our comfortable circumstances because in no way are we more deserving than others -- yet -- He has done this thing (for which we should be most thankful!) and it would be as wrong for us to spurn the good He gives to us as it would to spurn the hardships He places on us. 

When David wrote Psalm 16, I can only assume that he too may have questioned the great blessings God had bestowed on him and in so doing, found that assurance from our dear Father that David had God's permission to enjoy those blessings and be thankful to the great Giver of all things.  While we are often admonished to take the bad with the good, sometimes we need to be reminded to take the good with the bad.

Just before the verse I wrote under the picture, David said, "Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure" 16:5.  God chose David to be king and He assigned his portion in life with all its ups and downs and great blessings.  It was not David who chose this portion, but Almighty God Himself.  This reminds me of what Jesus said to Peter after the Lord had revealed to Peter that he would endure a violent death in God's service.  Peter pointed to the young disciple John and asked Jesus, "Lord, what about him?"

Jesus lovingly, but firmly answered Peter, saying, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?  You must follow me" John 21:22.  Anytime we might question our circumstances, whether easy or hard, beautiful or ugly -- we need only read these verses and remind ourselves that it is God who ultimately chooses our path.  Yes, we have choices we make for good or evil and whether to follow or rebel, but His is the ultimate choice for our portion in life.  As He said to Peter, He says to us:  "What is that to you...You must follow me."

While I have had numbers of heartaches and sorrows and difficulties, I hesitate to write the words, "my share," because I often feel they are less than "my share."  But, when Satan's servants seek to pummel me with notions of guilt for God's blessings, I choose to trust my Father and His amazing mercy and grace.  I desire that He would work through me His plan for my life and I well know that He is the One in control of assigning my portion.  With joy and thanksgiving, I echo the words of David: "You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand" 16:11.  And -- I give Him all the glory -- praise His holy name!

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