Psalm 139:5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
Aging is not what I thought it would be. When I was a young pastor I imagined a growing spirituality that would enable me to easily answer, and thus endure, any struggle. But, while struggles have endured and, in some cases, increased exponentially, the accompanying all knowing wisdom has not materialized. As life moves by I am often more baffled than ever, and see things I have no way or knowledge to modify... and I know it now. So I quietly walk away praying... praying out of my weakness and ignorance.
In the midst of this slow moving revelation about myself and all I see around me, I hear the sirens of inner longings... to walk away with my Carol and leave the struggle of ministry behind. Having lived 37 years in ministry, I am personally aware of so many friends through the years who have walked away. I don't speak that with criticism... or to bring the pain of guilt to anyone, but just to address my own inner awareness. Also, being a student of history, having traveled widely, and living in the 4th largest metropolitan area in the US, I am aware, at least to some extent, of my smallness. I am just one in billions, and what I do doesn't really matter except to a few others residing somewhere in the billions.
I reflect more these days on why I remain in the struggle... I think if what is stated above was all there was to it, I would meld into the masses to live my own life. But, at least to this point, I cannot. It is not because I possess some mysterious knowledge, or I think the world can't get along without me, or there is some super-spiritual strength within me... it is something so simple and yet so eternally profound.
Ever in my inner consciousness as I roam among the billions there is only one who is always everywhere. I cannot get away from Him. My logic tells me it is not so exclusively the way it seems, but my soul confirms it is my reality. God is with me... He will not leave, no matter what I choose in life, He will not leave. And as I anonymously wander in the crowds it is often the only thing clear to me: He wants my life to mean something to Him. Such as it is in its small frailness... He still wants it. And so, as long as He is so near, and I know He is here, I must go on...
Psalm 139:1 O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. 5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. 7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.