Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Wanders of Life

Aimless wanderings. Doesn’t that sound like life much of the time? Even when we have set what we think is a sure and steady course for life there is still some part of us that constantly reminds us that we are not in control of the end results. These wanderings encompass all of our being. How many questions could we generate along the lines of aimless wanderings when we examine our marriage, parenting, family life, health, finances, work, education, recreation? We could literally fill this page with questions concerning these dimensions of life as we regularly try to navigate through them. Many times we are trying to navigate through these waters even though we feel as if we are sinking in them.

Scripture is a wonderful place to go to find answers, and to realize that we are not alone in our wanderings. For instance, Psalm 56:8 speaks of David’s wanderings. In the psalm we observe a very young David that has not been able to find rest. He has found turmoil, transition and chaos most often. He has left home to pursue giants, and to prepare for the chief role of leadership among people he dearly loves, but, instead he has found turmoil, jealousy and threats. He is literally chased into the hill country and out of Israel by the standing King, yet he cannot find solace in other countries because his winsome reputation has preceded him. In Psalm 56 he feels isolated in his aimless wanderings.

At the brink of discouragement, in a dungeon cut off and alone he writes these words to God, “You have taken account of my wanderings, put my tears in Your bottle.” In a very lonely place, something stirred deep down to remind David he was not alone. There in the darkness he recognizes that God is not far away. At the moment when he is left to hang his head and begin to wonder about his wandering, He is reminded that God has kept count of every step. God has collected every tear. It is more than God just knowing about his struggle; David finds hope when he realizes God has been involved in the struggle. God has provided strength and comfort for David during a time of turbulence. He has propelled David to keep moving forward in obedience so that His plan would be accomplished through this young life and David could know the joy of faithfulness.

Could God be shaping his character and building his faith even with this terrible struggle?

Maybe David needed that dungeon. Did I really just say that? Because when I say that I might also be saying that I might need my struggle and you might need yours. If there had been no dungeon, Psalm 56 would never have been written and we would never have known of the sweetness of God’s care. If we were not at our place of aimless wandering, we might not have the chance to learn about the compassionate Father that has been counting every step.

What are you learning in your aimless wandering?

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