A week in 119

Posted: September 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

About twice a year, I set aside a week and dive head first into the deep waters of Psalm 119.  One thing really makes this chapter distinct from the rest of the Psalms:  it’s long.  Really long.  However, it’s powerful and it’s beautiful.  No matter what stretch of road you’re on, Psalm 119 has a signpost or a streetlight or a rest area for you.

The first big beam of light I ran into (or did it run into ME?) last week was verse five.

Here it is in the NIV:

“Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!   Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.”

And here it is in The Message:

Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course You set;  then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with Your counsel.

Though 119 is completely defaced in my bible with arrows, stars and verses that are circled, highlighted and exclamation-pointed, verse 5 had escaped all marking in all my previous studying.   I must have read right over the top of it.  This time, however,  it punched me right in the gut.  For the past few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about regrets.  Steve and I have talked about the money we should have saved, the people we should have reached out to, the times we should have walked in more faith and taken more risks.  I hate regrets…and I think they can easily tie us to the tracks and squash momentum.  Have you ever been having a perfectly lovely evening and suddenly a memory of a mistake crashes into your consciousness, takes you back in time and holds your future hostage there?  I really, really  hate regrets.

So when this verse rolled through, I read it…and read it…and read it again.  Over and over, I let the water of  these words wash wisdom into my soul.  Here are my discoveries and conclusions:

1. He doesn’t just want to save me from sin and then, “See you in heaven, Bo!”  He wants to set my course.  Mark my way.  Plot my future.  He is not just interested in my eternity…He’s infinitely interested in my today.

2. Steady steps don’t really sound that sexy, do they?  Steady.  Plodding.  One after the other.  Doesn’t sound very exciting.  When I look back in life at the places where I walked off course (and there are plenty of examples for me to choose from), it’s usually not because I didn’t know the right way to go, it’s because I got tired of going the right way.  Something else looked prettier or yelled louder or even seemed more spiritual than the road that Jesus had already clearly laid out for me and set my shoes upon.

3.  I love the line “then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life to Your counsel.”  Okay.  This makes sense and I’ve already admitted that I have plenty of regrets from the times that I have not followed the clear counsel of the Holy Spirit.  However – and this is a BIG however – I also have regrets from other things like, “I wish I would have invested in Microsoft when I had the chance.” Did I feel that the Lord’s counsel led me to invest in Microsoft at the time?  Nope.  I don’t feel like I disappointed God in not investing, I just wish I had made a bunch of money.  But this verse doesn’t actually leave a lot of room for that sort of regret, does it?  The only regret it says is okay to take some time to reflect on is the ones that were caused by walking off His course.  I have to say that I have been wasting a lot of time and energy on regrets that don’t fall into this category.  For instance, I have made some mistakes in parenting (especially with my poor oldest daughters) because I was young and still learning.  But I also know I was really trying to stick close to His counsel.  Did I blow it sometimes?  Yep.  But did I ever walk away from His course for growing me into a good mom?  No, I don’t really think I did.  So I could probably afford to let go of the old stuff that only has one purpose: weigh me down.

    So, I am determined first to really know His course for my life by knowing His Word and His presence and secondly to keep walking, even when it’s tempting to go another way.  Finally, I am going to shed some regrets and so that I can lighten the load and walk with a new pep in my step!

    Oh, 119, we’ve only just begun to dance!

    1. ci says:

      Oh Bo, it’s so good to see you blogging again. I rarely leave a comment, but I faithfully read what you write. How I relate to learning about the real things to regret and change, and the weights to lay aside and move on. Isn’t it interesting that they are usually tied to parenting? Such a heavy burden to carry. I’m so glad Jesus is strong!

    2. Jenn Hoff says:

      Nice to have your writings back my friend!
      I’m going to think for a very long while about things I should and should not regret. I guess I find that I’m actually sometimes regretting things I know were “walking in his counsel”. That’s not allowed. Can’t regret those things, but Oh! So many things would be easier to live with if I could just do them my way. Yikes.

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