Last night I went to Compline at St. Mark's. It was only my second time, and while I may not agree with St. Mark's or the Episcopal Church in many areas of theology and politics, I greatly enjoy this Sunday night service of Scripture and hymns sung ol-skool Gregorian style.
Frequently in my life, I go to a service wrestling with something, only to find that the chosen verse or song exactly addresses my issue. Perfectly apropos, the Psalm last night was Psalm 16, which has been a kind of theme for my life the past year. For your reading pleasure:
Keep me safe, O God,
for in you I take refuge.
I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing."
As for the saints who are in the land,
they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those will increase
who run after other gods.
I will not pour out their libations of blood
or take up their names on my lips.
LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
I have been blessed with so many good changes in my life the last couple of years, yet there are still areas of struggle, things I want, things I don't want. As a friend recently said, "when we overcome something that allows us to realize something else that needs lots of work" and this year has been like that for me. I try to walk that fine line between contentment and ambition, submitting my desires to God, but also clinging to the verse that says He will give us the desires of our hearts, and trying to understand exactly what that means. I put a quote up on my wall a couple of months ago, I think it is from Blue Like Jazz: "he who has God and everything else has no more that he who just has God." I can say that I wholeheartedly believe that statement, but living it out in my daily, worrying life can be more difficult.
The line that reads "I said to the LORD, 'You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.'" has become my mantra. This has been my weapon against discouragement, my strength when I am going for something and when I am letting something go. It brings some perspective when I get so focused on something that I forget to see the big picture. God's plan for my life is so much bigger and greater than I could ever imagine, but even if I never receive any of the blessings He has stored up for me, just the truth of His love for me is enough. The fact that He will never leave me or forsake me, no matter what anyone else does, is enough to keep me going. I may not always be happy about my circumstances, but I am blessed beyond comprehension because I am living in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.