Psalm 23:6 – Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. (NIV)
At age 77, I have a lot of years to look back on. Have goodness and love followed me all those days? Integrity means that we can look back on our lives with appreciation, owning each day with pleasure. My childhood in Bermuda certainly was idyllic: cycling around, going to school or to the beach, enjoying the sun and surf. How I miss it all now! Yes, goodness and love certainly followed me there. In my twenties in Canada, there was music: I was at the Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and then attended lectures at the Deaconess School, the university, and Knox College. Did God's love follow me through it all? Yes, I think so, as all my life was formed with God's goodness and love.
But what about those who did not have a good childhood — those who lived with a handicap, or who were taking drugs? One of the best singers I have ever heard was in a wheelchair, and she blossomed above it all. The same can be said of those teens who came off drugs, recognizing God's goodness and love calling to them. Surely, God's goodness and mercy are not hit and miss, but all around us. Sadly, it is we who ignore His goodness and love.
The climax in our life's journey is to live in the house of the Lord forever. This journey, here on earth, is the preliminary walk, where we follow Jesus and prepare to enter the final door. What then do we learn here? We learn how to do everything with goodness and love, preparing for the final flight. Attendance at church prepares us, as does family life, when goodness and love guide us. Every time we assist our weaker sister or brother, we are closer to fully loving and living as Christ would have us live.
Hebrews 12:28 – Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. (NIV)
What we have here is but a shadow of the real thing, emanating from God in heaven. When we live in the goodness and love of Christ, we are moving closer to the heavenly realm.
One day, I was sitting by the bedside of my friend's father, who was slowly slipping away. My friend was diabetic and needed her lunch, and she didn't want him left alone, so I stayed. I was reading to him, when suddenly the local church bells started marking the noon hour. I walked over to the window and looked out, then turned around and walked back. As I sat down, his breathing stopped. He had been called home by the church bells. How did his spirit know to leave and go home to heaven? It was obvious that he answered the call of the church bells, and went to church in his home on high.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we are very sure that You lead us through all of this life, and that every time we share with another Your goodness and love, we move closer to You. We pray today for those who don't know Your ways, and who are lost in the frantic days of this life. We ask that our day may be used to reach another with Your goodness and love, and in so doing, make our journey to You clearer, as we follow Jesus home. In His name, we pray. Amen.