We’ve heard the promise saying “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,” (Psalm 23:6a) but when you’re in a valley, you might feel like you need a little goodness and mercy TODAY. In fact, it can be hard to look past today or this week, much less all the way to a heavenly eternity. Do you ever wonder if asking for a little goodness and mercy in the here and now is too petty to go bothering God about?
Yesterday morning I had a meeting, so at 8 am I pulled alongside the mailbox to deposit a few cards for loved ones. I had picked out each one carefully at the grocery store, glad for a coupon to cover most of the cost. Cards are pricey these days! But as I raised the flag on the post box, I realized that my outgoing mail supply may need to be cut down due to budget cuts at home. In August, Jeff and I ended our ministry of 10 years at our church, being confident God has directed us to end a season of serving Him here in ways we have loved. But God’s movement hasn’t come with the answer to the “What next?” question yet. We are prayerfully waiting for His guidance (next week I’ll tell you more about His movement in the interim). So that means we need to tighten our budget at home, squeezing out a few joys and pleasures … including lovely store bought cards.
For a moment, I thought about asking God to send me cards to send to others. And then I thought, “Surely cards are too little to ask for from the Great Shepherd.” Feeling sad for myself and thankful for the last 3 cards I was sure I would ever send, I drove away.
At 10 am, armed with a loaf of bread for giving, I walked into Panera to meet a friend. I put down what I was sure to be the last cup I would ever order, and went to wash up. When I returned, a clear gift bag filled with intricately hand-made, beautiful cards sat at my place. It was tied with a happy ribbon. A gift. From my dear friend; from the Great Shepherd.
In less than two hours. CARDS. I could hardly believe my eyes. I felt so humbled. So foolish. So grateful. So “sheep-ish.” I laughed. God gave me cards.
Around the time I was believing God didn’t need to hear my plea for cards, my friend was wondering if she should bother to bring them to me. But she felt urged to deliver them. God used her to bring goodness and mercy on this day of my life.
Perhaps we linger sadly in the valley, longing for what would bring us and others joy, without cause. Perhaps the Great Shepherd only waits for us to ask, to even consider asking, for Him to deliver goodness and mercy from His great supply that will last all the days of our lives.
What aligns with God’s will and leaves you longing for His supply? Is it small? Is it petty? Would the giving and the receiving of it be goodness and mercy on this day of your life? Ask Him, sweet reader, for He waits to give you good things today and all the days of your life. Surely.