Psalm 119: 25 I am laid low in the dust;preserve my life according to your word.
We lived in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, CA and we had just received our Green cards and returned to West Point. Because of delays in getting our INS appointment and the impending exit date on our Visa we made decisions to let others live in our home. Now we were back in the US and homeless.We began to establish our business in the one stop crossroad town of WestPoint, CA.
As they say it was the best of times and the worst of times. But my desperation and frustrations of those months brought me to a nailing my feet to the floor on what was truth and what wasn't. I needed to separate the wheat from the chaff of life and didn't know where to begin. Now I can smile at how in my anger and stubbornness at what was happening to us. "Spitting feathers" was a phrase I used to a few people! But the desperation I felt, led me on a journey that has preserved my life according to HIS word.
My discipleship journey began in earnest. I remembered conversations and sermons from John our pastor, he talked about the 'all or nothing approach' to being a believer. If following Jesus is true then He deserves our whole lives and attention. He preached on the Good Shepherd and I began to trust in that truth.
Also at that time that I was working out what the Kingdom of God was all about, reading only the Gospels. It wasn't long before I read about First things First!I needed to know what it meant to me in the here and now, as we camped out on Gene's (another pastor) floor and as we began fueling our IT consultancy and the many ad hoc businesses we had in the pipeline.
Duh : Seek first the kingdom and his righteouness".. I have sung these words from when I went to folk mass in the 70's but 30 years later - the reality and power of those words struck home.
Matthew 6:32-34 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Here was a wheat and chaff distinction I could easily make.
From there the second principle of Mammon or Manna became a reality in short order that I continue to be reminded of nearly 9 years later!
Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money".
As I read about how God provided for his people in the wilderness and how He calls us to open our mouths so that He can fill it. Psalm 81:10 sums it up with "I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it".
That's a level of dependency that I was embarking on and it rankled. Surely being independent and responsible was the grown up way of living? Now I understand that as I was provided for in infancy and grew to maturity that I needed to learn to depend and trust spiritually. I would need to know my heavenly Father's provision in ways not encountered before. Sure enough, lessons were learnt from that time that has increased my sense of God's Fatherhood and provision. He never fails.
That time of dogged desperation to know God better and how He wants me to operate in His kingdom has given me the sanity of being able to walk according to His word. The knowledge that Jesus is the Good Shepherd has deepened over the years through His presence and peace. The challenges have been many and varied and will continue as they may. But I know that the Good Shepherd will lead me and guide me, I will fear no evil because He is with me. That is enough. That is all I need to know.
Those two principles, have guided me and given me strength over the years, for which I am eternally grateful.
What begins in humility and desperation will end in grace and peace.
25 I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word.
32 I run in the path of your commands,for you have set my heart free.
If life brings you low today, you are in a good place. In due time the Father will extend his hand to you and help you to your feet.