Perspectives from First Peter One (2)

In our first devotional study, Peter led us in praise.  I hope your soul has gained a right perspective by returning your mind often to praise. We pondered God’s person.  All other reasons for praising him are built upon the foundation of his holy person.  He is worthy to be praised simply because of who he is.   But now, see how eager Peter is for us to go on and ponder God’s actions.

His next sentence is  l  o  n  g  .  It seems to me that Peter is so eager to get the words out that he won’t even stop for a breath!  However, we’ll be stopping often along the way to catch our breath!  We’ll sit and rest, taste and savor – my New Testament version of the “Selah” found in the Psalms.

According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. First Peter 1:3-5

If you haven’t already, add these next verses to your folded 3×5 card. See Perspectives from First Peter One

According to his great mercy,

Mercy.  Great mercy.  This is something God has. Mercy, by definition, is the withholding of a punishment that is deserved.  What we read next is all possible because, and only because, of God’s mercy, not any merit in the receiver.  We are about to hear how God applies his mercy.

Let’s fly over the sentence to pick out the nouns and their modifiers (easy grammar, right?).  Your list might look something like this:

great mercy, living hope, resurrection, Jesus Christ, inheritance imperishable undefiled unfading, kept, heaven, God’s power, faith, salvation.  

Don’t these words fairly sparkle?  They are like diamonds, flashing in the light is we glide over them.  They draw our attention to the One responsible for these happy, dancing, superlative words.  The One responsible.  That would be the One doing the action.

he has caused us to be born again to a living hope…

God does it all. The resources from which God draws his generous mercy all belong to him.  He is the source of the resources!

birthday boyHe would soon turn six.  Our monthly check had already arrived and there was just enough for the daily basics.  But the money didn’t stretch far enough for extras, like cocoa, for his favorite chocolate cake.  And, there was no way to buy him a birthday present, either.  I was exceedingly concerned (worried is probably more like it.)  The day came.  No cocoa, no present.  So, we got really creative.  I had been on a carob kick and had a bit left.  Ta-da!  Chocolate cake.  Grandparents (bless their wonderful hearts) sent presents.  We had a little family party.  Maybe he never noticed, but I felt keenly the lack of a present from me and his daddy.  How could his own parents not get him anything?  We bought time.  “Instead of just a one-day celebration, we’ll celebrate you every day for a week!  It will be birthday week!”,  I explained, in hopes that a few extra dollars would show up before the week was over and we could present him with our gift to open.  Each day he got some little special treatment – choosing the story to read, alone time with Daddy, going to bed a bit later — you get the idea.  Nothing superlative.  A bit here, a bit there.

See what God has caused, what he has put into action for your sake!  His work is complete, perfect and permanent and satisfies every need we have for mercy.  He pours it on his own redeemed people abundantly, without holding back, from his bottomless resources.  He’s not limited by any lack of resources to apply his mercy to anyone who asks for it.  The effects of his mercy are reality and apply to your every day past, present and future.

Don’t forget to keep your card with you and glance at it often!  In between ins and outs of your daily schedule, ponder those nouns and their modifiers.  Take each one in turn.  Rehearse the definition of each word.  Resist the urge to rush on.  Let your heart sit awhile to ponder the list of things God’s mercy has made available to you.  This is reality that makes a difference – eternally.

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Perspectives from First Peter One

I Peter 1:3                                   img_1793

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

And let’s stop right there.  

This isn’t that leisurely and relaxing meal, complete with hors d’oeuvres, soup, salad, entree, dessert and coffee.  You are a sleep deprived mommy.  You are suffering the brain fog of jet lag.  Or you are exhausted from crying tears that won’t stop.  You don’t have the quiet, the energy, the focus to take in a whole chapter or to closet yourself for concentrated prayer.  But your soul must be fed, nonetheless.  And you must worship.  Even a “lick of the spoon”, when the morsel is God’s word served to you by the Holy Spirit, is satisfying to the soul.  This may be that lick!

Scripture was written that we might know God.  Peter wrote this letter so that the reader, then and in the present day, would know God better and believe Him.  Does that seem a little irrelevant to your life right now?  What about application?  There has to be some tidy “take-away” from each devotion or Bible study, right?  This time, our “take-away” is a deeper understanding of our God.  It is only as the Holy Spirit enlightens our heart and mind to know God, through Jesus Christ, that we truly know ourselves.   The Spirit reveals our true self to us as a result of knowing God.  Only then can we rightly apply “what we have learned”.  Let’s move on to better understand God!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Ours.  Yours and mine.  But is he?  Is he yours?  Or more to the point – are you his?  Do you identify yourself as a person whom God has chosen from before the beginning of time to receive the gift of salvation offered only through the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ?  The apostle Peter wrote these words, addressing them to a group of people who put their faith in Jesus.  If you are included in this group, the letter (I Peter) and this meditation, are for you.  [More meat:  Read and ponder the first two verses of the letter, if you have a bit more time down the road.]

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Lord.  He is the universal king – Lord.  He is the sovereign.  No circumstance, situation, or person is outside the realm of his rule and authority.  And that means you.  The opportunities, the material blessings and the sunshine of your day are not happy coincidences.  They are directly ordered by your King. Your present trials and the grief that engulfs you all passed through his hand first.  Does that disturb you, even anger you?  Practice seeing yourself and your day through this lens. Where do you need to correct your definition of “Lord”?  [More meat:  John 20:26-28]

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Jesus means Savior.  He is the Savior, your own Savior. His is the only name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.  Saved from what?  Specifically, he saves us from God’s wrath, which we justly deserve, by taking all our sin upon himself.  God directed the full force of his righteous anger on Jesus as he hung on the cross to die in our place.  Jesus’ sacrifice opened the way for God to forgive us, and remove our guilt and shame, to make us free indeed!  If that were the only good thing that ever happened to you in your whole life, it would be more than enough.  [More meat: Acts 4:12, John 3:36 and Romans 5:9]

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Christ.  The Messiah or the Promised One.  The One that God would send to save his people from their sins.  God kept his promise!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

To bless God is to praise him.  And this is the application Peter intends for us.  Acknowledge the excellency of God who orchestrated your salvation and makes life possible.  This very God is Father of our Lord.  Who can consider this without marveling at the excellent mystery of the God-head:  one God in three persons?  [Matthew 3:16-17 is just one instance in Scripture where we get a glimpse of each of the Persons revealing himself simultaneously.]

I got down on my knees, eye level with my son.  Cupping his chin in my hands I gently turned his face to mine.  “Look right at me, son.  Give me your full attention.”  This is what God does to you and I.  Today, right now, he instructs each of us to stop, even for just a minute, and look at him – our Sovereign Ruler, our Savior, the One the world has waited for – and bless him.

May I suggest a way for you, a busy, stretched or burdened friend, to do that?  Take a 3×5 card and fold it in half.  Write out I Peter 1:3* and put it where you keep your phone.  At the stop light, while waiting for the microwave to ding, before bed, when you get up … anytime when you would normally grab your phone, grab this card first and read it.  Pick one of the words to chew (not literally, of course!), just like I’ve demonstrated above.  Let your mind dwell for 60 seconds, often during the day, on a different word in the verse.  Chew.  Savor.  Praise.  Rest your soul.

God’s Holy Spirit will use a verse that doesn’t even seem to speak directly to your present trial or circumstance to teach you, comfort, and counsel you.  Taste and see!

*I normally use the New King James or English Standard Version.  These translations are more literal, using language that is usually specific and precise, encouraging my mind to dig for the truth treasure that is presented.

The Cormorant and the Psalmist

The Cormorant and the Psalmist

I stopped to watch the cormorant dive this morning on my walk around the lake.  This bird fascinates me, and seems to beg for an audience.  He glides, sitting lower into the surface as  his feathers gradually absorb water.  (I’m told he wasn’t given the natural water repellent oils that other water fowl have, so must periodically come to land until his feathers dry else he would literally sink to his death.)   IMG_1766He invites me to play a guessing game: “Where Will I Come Up?”.  Head down, perfectly poised with a body designed for it, he dives.  I can’t see the bottom, I can’t see where he goes.  But he’s down there swimming in that dark and murky lake.  He knows what he’s doing and he’s about his business of doing it.  He’ll resurface when he’s ready, but where is anybody’s guess.  I wait.  I watch, my eyes darting back and forth to the right, to the left, out further, closer in, trying to predict where he’ll emerge.  It seems to take forever.  Did I miss him? Suddenly, as gracefully as he disappeared beneath the surface, his head pops up way over on the west side of the lake.  My patience is rewarded. I smile, congratulating myself for looking in the right direction, and move on.  But my mind stays on that bird.  I ponder the deep.

I waited patiently for the Lord.

When will you come?  Where will you show up?  How can you ever make this right?  Should I abandon my Lord just because he has not performed the way I had expected him to?  I question his goodness.  I am seeing a “side” of him that I hadn’t known before, and it frightens me.  But where else would I go?  So I wait.  My soul takes a seat, folds its hands, and waits for Jesus.  I have no words except “HELP!!  HELP!!  I’m going down!”

And He inclined to me, and heard my cry.

But how does that save me?  It’s dark.  I can’t see into the next 15 minutes, let alone the long years ahead shadowed by this incomprehensible loss.  Fragments of frantic thought grasp for a solid foothold.   The eyes of my soul dart here and there, looking for light.   An overwhelmed heart.  A mind in anguish.  Tears that won’t stop.  So what if God does hear?  He can’t undo what’s been done.

He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my steps.

Yucky, dark, slimy, bottomless ooze.  I fear swimming where I can’t see the bottom, and in lakes where organic matter wraps itself around my ankles.  I want to see.  I want to know what’s there.    I want solid, visible ground under my feet.  The Indian Ocean, off the coast of northern Mozambique, is my favorite place to swim.  The water is clear the whole way down.  I can see my feet as they pad across the firm, wet sand.  The dangers are clearly visible and deftly avoided.  

I still don’t know the answers.  Grief still looms.  I immerse myself in His word, and so He has quieted my soul with grander thoughts of his ways, a broader understanding of his mercy, his grace, his holiness … my depravity and the brokenness of us all.  His character is the solid rock on which he has set my feet.  I don’t understand God.  But I know him better.  I trust his terrible goodness.  There is strength in his mercy, an awful perfection in his judgements, and a glorious purpose in it all, yet to be unveiled.   

We need a God who sees where we don’t see; a God whose purposes stretch into eternity, where our minds collapse at such ponderings.  This God, the One revealed to us in the holy Scriptures, is the only god worth fearing, loving and waiting on.

He has put a new song in my mouth – Praise to our God.  Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.

I’m waiting on my Rescuer for that new song, and to see what He will do with it.  But I will watch and be patient for His time.  There are gifts of His grace that are only bestowed on those who walk through the valley of death.  Walk, don’t run.  I will cherish these gifts in my heart and, when I have voice, broadcast them to all who will hear.

I would never willingly go where the cormorant goes.  But when His hand of Providence takes me there, the Rescuer goes with me.

Psalm 40

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence…”  II Peter 1:3

What To Wear

What To Wear

“You look like you’re ready to lead worship”, said my husband as I stood before him in leggings and a long sweater.

“Mom, do you think I could choose a wife on the basis of the swimsuit she wears?” asked my son, in all seriousness.

“All ordained clergy are invited to join in the procession … [and] should wear attire appropriate to their tradition.” – a footnote on the invitation we received to an ordination service.

What do the above accounts have in common? They all show that we attribute meaning to what people wear. I’m not going to speculate, in this space, what women are saying by what they wear on the platform or at the pool. On the other hand, a clergyman’s robe and stole absolutely identify him with a certain tradition. His statement is obvious.

God understands more than we do that the thing we put on identifies us with a tradition, a culture, a belief. God, right from the beginning, used the garment motif to communicate redemption. He did not accept the green, leafy clothes Adam and Eve made to cover their nakedness. These clothes offended God and said to Him: “We did exactly what You told us not to do and now we’re trying to cover up and to hide our sin against You. We are full of shame. Our new clothes should make us feel better about ourselves and keep the truth from You.” But God saw through their flimsy leaves, right into their souls. Their workmanship did not cover their sin, nor their guilt, nor their shame.

Don’t we still try to cover ourselves in our own workmanship? Don’t we think of ourselves as basically lovable, good and deserving of God’s good will? Do we believe we can make our own plan and “get to God” on our own?

She was barely three years old. Perching on the curb, I told her to take my hand to cross. “I don’t want to hold your hand”, she stated. “Very well. If not my hand, you must at least hold someone’s hand to cross this street”, I insisted. She pondered for hardly an instant. Then she clasped her left hand in her right hand, held them out in front of her and announced: “I will hold my own hand.” And so doing, she marched across the street alone. Fortunately, she arrived safely on the other side. However, we will not arrive safely on the other side of death, nor be welcomed to eternity in God’s kingdom if our view has been: “I’ll do it myself. I have a plan.”

God’s gospel work began in Genesis 3:21 when He Himself covered the rebels with garments of His own making, having rejected their efforts. And then, Christ * shed His blood as our cover. So those who bow before Him, denying their own goodness in order to receive Christ’s covering, will be robed in His righteousness. If we aren’t wearing this, we aren’t wearing anything.

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness.” Isaiah 61:10

Will God recognize the robe you’re wearing as you stand before Him on that final day? Or will you appear before Him in garments of your own making, flimsy wisps of nothingness? Will the Righteous Judge look at you or me and say what the truth-speaking child cried out when their Emperor marched past the crowd in his new clothes: “But he doesn’t have anything on!”

A well-known theologian puts it like this: The question is not “Do you know Jesus?”, but rather, “Does He know you?” Are you clothing yourself with garments made from your own pattern? A custom-fit life of your own invention? If so, He won’t recognize you as His. He only receives those who are wearing His perfect robe of righteousness thrown over them solely and explicitly because of what Christ has done! God will recognize me because, no question, He knows that robe! Hallelujah!

There is a song I love about this robe:

I am covered over with the robe of righteousness that Jesus gives to me, gives to me,
I am covered over with the precious blood of Jesus and He lives in me, lives in me.
What a joy it is to know my heavenly Father loves me so,
He gives to me, my Jesus.
When He looks at me He sees not what I used to be, but He sees — Jesus.

Does Jesus know you? What clothes do you trust in to cover you, to identify you as God’s child? What are you wearing?

*link to Statement of Christology in Portuguese

 

Holding On

Holding On

Some of you dear servants of Christ have just put your son or daughter on a plane, to fly to a boarding school far away. You won’t see them for three months. You will repeat this two more times this year: first, the giddy anticipation of their arrival and straining for your first glimpse of them coming down the exit ramp. Few joys compare!

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

Secondly, the unfolding joys of being together again. Please, please lay aside a few of your “ministry” appointments for this short month. Revel in your mothering ministry. You won’t regret time spent diffusing the light of the gospel to the disciples you birthed.

Then there’s the third, and necessary strand to make the picture complete: seeing the back of her as she turns to face her future.

 

Holding On

She plays her music.
I quilt and listen
to the chords I hear
one month in four.

I let her music roll around in my heart
Because I know the moment will end –
How long can I cling,
hold on?
Not too long, lest I rob her of joy.

Unbearably hot, this weather.
I prepare iced coffee
which we share together –
a favorite of hers.

Conversation flows happily from serious to hilarious,
My daughter, my friend,
How long can I cling,
hold on?
Just short of “too long” lest she suspect my heart.

We stroll downtown
admiring the latest facelifts in our African city.
She is slender and strong
But I am not too old beside her!

Our feet in step, our hearts growing closer
as she becomes a woman.
How long can I cling,
hold on?
Not too long, lest she be forced to tear herself away.

It’s time.
She, anxious to put the long, bumpy miles behind her.
Me, anxious about the inevitable pain.
We embrace. I snatch at my breath
that escapes in a sob.
How long can I cling to her,
hold on?
Oh, mother, not too long – but long enough
to express what our hearts already know.
My daughter, I must let you slide easily,
Gently from my grasp.

How long can I cling to You,
hold on?

“Oh, daughter, cling to Me,
hold on.
I will never let you go.
You will never turn around to find Me gone.

Blessed are the mothers who let go …
and cling.”

January 3, 1999

 

Oh, don’t forget the rest of the verse. It’s the promise Jesus made to all those who carry His gospel to wherever He sends them – you to your village, your son and daughter to their dorm:

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.“

“I am with you to bear you up, to plead your cause; with you in all your services, in all your sufferings, to bring you through them with comfort and honor.” Matthew Henry

“I will not leave you or forsake you. I Am, the One with all authority in heaven and earth, your Friend who sticks closer to you than the sweetest relation —will forever hold on to you.

Matthew 28:18-20; Joshua 1:5; Proverbs 18:24

Feasting in the Wilderness

Feasting in the Wilderness

“What keeps you going?”, he asked. It’s a canned question, but meant to give veterans the chance to encourage young missionaries, I suppose. How do I answer that? What remarkable, memorable statement could I utter that would make a lasting impression, maybe even change him forever? My genuine answer, the one my heart immediately trumpeted, was just one very loud word: “Jesus!”. But that’s so expected. I’m a missionary after all, and that’s what you’d expect me to say. How boring. “Jesus, literally, truly, absolutely, keeps me going.” I told him that, not because he expected me to (he didn’t), but because this is one, true thing I know for sure-without-a-doubt.

The sun has set on our Namibia assignment. There was a day, or a week here and there, where I was able to exercise my gifts to teach and encourage others to follow Jesus Christ and know His word. Mostly though, it has been twenty-one months of isolation, of a life un-peopled, of being invisible. So, during our end-of-term review, I had to answer another question posed by my leadership: How has your emotional health been this term? I wrote one word: fragile.

The multiplied hardships that characterize a missionary life, and this assignment in particular, look like a recipe for emotional meltdown. Too often we respond to such a recipe by fighting back, demanding attention, and becoming self-focused. Our soul grows bitter, depressed and rebellious. And I could see it coming. I wasn’t immune.  But meltdown didn’t happen. My soul is healthy!

Most of my needs for friendship, companionship and to be useful (other than within my precious marriage) went unmet month after long month. But my heart danced!  How is that? I am not hardier of character or a “stronger Christian” than other people. A friend once marveled at how I could “just leave my family” for years on end and live far over the ocean. She comforted herself by telling me she supposes I don’t have the same emotions she has so being a missionary comes easy for me. I wanted to punch her, (which is proof that I’m not a “stronger Christian”). It is precisely because of my weakness that Jesus, and only Jesus, is “what keeps me going”. He is my satisfaction, my joy, my salvation, my peace, my Redeemer, my everything.

Jesus. The Holy Spirit took me deeper into the knowledge of Christ through His word. Oh! The depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! [All of the riches of his grace are mine, now, in this situation!] How unsearchable are His judgements. [He, in all His bottomless wisdom, has put me here.] How inscrutable His ways! [Who do I think I am to question His way with me?]

Jesus. God revealed. God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. [I am humbled before such a matchless Master.]

Jesus. He has loved me with an everlasting love. I am not my own. [I don’t belong to me.] I was bought with a price. [He paid the price for my sin with his own life, his own blood. He bought me back from my old master, sin. So of course He will protect my wobbly faith.] “Therefore, my soul, glorify God!”

Jesus. The Great I AM. He has come to me, seeing me in my rocking boat, and has passed by, in order that I might gaze on His glory. Oh, listen my soul! It’s not that Jesus gets in the boat with me, takes my storm away and says, “It’s ok, we’re good.” He did not get in my boat but has desired to show me his glory. He beckoned me to look long at Him, at His person and identity. And then I was not afraid, or angry, or demanding to be useful. After all, why would I be?

Jesus. The one who I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. [I have committed the salvation and the preservation of my soul to him. He will keep it. I can stay in my right mind and not give myself up to an attack of doubt or panic.]

Jesus. The one the prophets foretold. The one about whom the Scriptures were written that I might know God and have eternal life. His word is written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. [The hope and comfort I need each day is to be found in Christ as I learn about Him in the Bible.]

Jesus. According to His mercy [not my usefulness] He saved me, through the washing of regeneration [I am baptized into Christ, He claims me as His own!] and renewing of the Holy Spirit [every day, he is continually renewing my soul, helping me change my mind and think rightly about him and others, and myself.]

Jesus. He daily blessed me with his presence and spooned into me the knowledge of Him. He fed me with Himself through reading His word, meditating, accepting his correction and repenting.

And so, one by one, the days passed in pondering Christ rather than myself. My fragility became my strength and my joy. I learned not to recoil from the ache in my heart, but let Jesus use it to make me more like Him, that He would be shown as glorious.

Having learned more about the measure of faith I’ve been assigned, I won’t put God to the test by seeking a second assignment that entails such isolation, though! I won’t court trouble. Trials will come without my looking for them.

Back in my home culture, where life is comfortable, I let down my guard. I know from experience that I eventually lose the fragility and my sense of utter dependence on Jesus Christ. This frightens me. I have feasted too much on Him in this wilderness to be satisfied with any less of Him in the “land of plenty”.

Romans 11:33-36; I Corinthians 7:23; II Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 1; Titus 3:5

Resources that help me to bring God’s word to bear on my soul: Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Unabridged; John Calvin’s Commentary on Psalms; sermons by Aaron Messner  and daily devotion guide .

A Watcher for the Sojourner

A Watcher for the Sojourner

Reading Psalm 146 today, I thought of you, my friends who know what it is to move back and forth between countries, continents and cultures; who experience a life-style of goodbyes. I think of you, the expert at home decorating with whatever is on hand and accomplishing a sense of place inside of two weeks; you who search out local ingredients and invent tasty, once-in-a-lifetime meals that can’t be duplicated in the next location. I think of you, my missionary friend, my military child, who is ever conscious of the truth that we really are pilgrims here, always living in transit.

“The Lord watches over the sojourners.” Sojourner is defined as a person who is living in a place temporarily. What really grabbed my attention in this Psalm is the fact that the sojourner is mentioned right in there with the special attention the Lord pays to the oppressed, the hungry, the prisoners, the blind [and I think we can say the disabled in general], the depressed in spirit, the widow and the orphan. Take another look at this list and we see those who are left behind in the mainstream of social life. They live in the margins, outside of the daily rhythm of public and domestic life. Does that seem like your life? If living is riding a pony on the merry-go-round, these people are the ones sitting on the bench watching, powerless to jump on. We who spend decades of our lives moving from one temporary place to the next are like those who lope alongside the wheel but don’t ever seem to achieve the stride necessary to leap up onto it. And it certainly isn’t going to stop for us. God knows us, my friend. He knows the trials and temptations unique to our sojourner status. He has not forgotten that we are, after all, dust. Our dust is composed of change, uncertainty and temporal transience, never quite fitting in, a part of our heart always someplace where we aren’t. There are trials and temptations that are peculiar to such dust. We are prone to particular sins and weaknesses. Our Father knows this. He knows our dust. And He has a particular promise for us. He will watch over us.

God our Father watches over the sojourner. To watch is to observe attentively over a period of time. He watches without blinking. He doesn’t watch like a casual observer; waiting to see what will happen, or for his entertainment. He is a Watcher who goes before, removing obstacles we don’t even notice. He guards our back from innumerable spiritual attacks which he knows we aren’t ready to face today. He watches for the pit carved out by the enemy to swallow up our restless soul. He watches as our guard, to protect us from misunderstandings or irreparable cultural faux pas . He watches; he sees what you, and I, don’t because we can never completely understand the culture where we are or the assignment we have. There are too many unknowns in our lives; too many blind spots. He knows the unknowns, sees what we never will and Watches out for us, you and I. He watches with intent – the intent to comfort and preserve our souls.

My friends, if our God works justice for the oppressed, frees prisoners, opens blind eyes, lifts up those who are bowed down, relieves the orphan and the widow, you can be sure that He watches you, a sojourner. And you can be confident that His watching is exactly what you need. Trust yourself to his vision and view of things. Rest your soul today, because God is your Watcher and Preserver.