Monday, February 9, 2009

The Course of My Life

The course of my life is in Your power. (Psalm 31:15 HCSB)
The NKJV has the more familiar reading, “My times are in Your hand.” However, “the course of my life,” speaks to me more of the trajectory of my life — not just where I am now, but also where I am heading. It is all in the power of God’s hand.

Recently, I received a note from a friend who had a vision of me. She saw me sitting in my usual place at church (maybe I should get around the room more) with a hardbound book in my hand. Then she saw hands take the book and rip out the last quarter of the pages. As she prayed about this vision, she felt that God was saying I had some preconceived ideas about how things will end but that God had a different ending written. She also sensed that there were still more pages to be written and they would be full of unexpected turns that would never have occurred to me in my version of things. But God has them all written and woven into the plan of my life.

Sounds about right. It was only a week earlier that I myself had ripped out a section of pages. I had made the decision to quit pursuing a course I had been following, on and off, for about fifteen years. I had thought it was God’s path for me, but then I came to the unexpected realization that I did not need to take it to completion — I had already received the benefit I needed from it and this course would no longer serve. So I ripped out those pages about where I thought it would take me. It was a hard thing, but the right thing. There has been a little grieving over it, but mostly a pervading peace.

So now, I have a lot of blank pages. I think I know the chapter I am on, but I do not know exactly where, how or when this one ends and the next one begins. And that’s okay. The course of my life is in God’s hands — and His are very good hands.

I feel a little like Abraham, when God came and said, “Get out of your country … to a land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). Abraham probably thought he knew where his life was going, but then God suddenly appeared and changed everything. Abraham’s life now took on new and unexpected — and wonderful — dimensions. The significance of his life became immeasurable.

There are a couple of prayers that are helpful to me at moments like these. I’ll share one of them with you now:
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you and I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road although I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. ~  Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude.
The course of your life is in God’s hands — and they are very good hands.