Go on ahead of me
I must lead softly on
The tender flock around me
Cannot run the whole day long
And if you climb to greater heights
We'll follow at a pace
That children and the lambs can walk
Just step by step in grace
Then together on that day
We'll meet you at the gate
For I must lead on softly
Until the break of day!
Softly With the Lambs by Peter Caligiuri copyright 2022 all rights reserved
And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Matthew 14:32 NKJV
This short verse from Matthew’s gospel held a promise for me that I had overlooked till I desperately needed it. My mother was just sixty-two when she died of breast cancer and her passing left me feeling like I had been run over by a truck. The years struggling to rebuild our relationship, the prayers and the conversations were suddenly over. I felt as if I were locked in a room with barely enough air to breathe. I sleepwalked through months of guilt and regret for what had never been. I had often thought about God challenging me as He had challenged Peter to get out of the boat. At other times I had been comforted knowing that just as Jesus had reached out his hand to save Peter, He would take my hand in the middle of a crisis. But it was just as important for me to learn that Jesus wanted to help me back into the boat and restore calm when this storm had passed. I do not know how it happened but gradually light began shining in the dark places of my heart. I woke up to find that though I might never understand the why behind the pain, knowing only God knew had become enough
Do we struggle to see God as more than just challenging or rescuing us? What a wonderful surprise awaits when we realize that He is also delighted to help us back in the boat and calm our winds to a hush.
Returning From Lo-Debar – Part One
And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.” 2 Samuel 9:3-4 ESV
Before David was the king of Israel, he served in King Saul’s army and became a well-loved figure in the king’s court (That is well loved by everyone except Saul.) Not long after David killed Goliath, Saul’s son Jonathan became David’s closest friend. Then when things fell apart and David found himself running for his life, Jonathan came to his defense. That is when they made promises to each other to always be friends, though sadly, things didn’t work out as they had planned. They never had the chance to be best men at each other’s weddings or to do any of the things that friends do, because Jonathan was killed in battle, trying to defend his father when a neighboring nation invaded. In fact, the situation was worse than just a defeat in battle. The invaders also killed every one of Jonathan’s family members they could find. But, after David had mourned, he remembered his promise to always take care of Jonathan’s family. That is how we come upon the scene of today’s conversation. David discovered that there was one child left, a young man named Mephibosheth who lived in the Biblical boondocks, in a town named Lo Debar.
Now might say, “That’s sort of interesting, but what does it have to do with me?” And the answer is, “Everything!” You see Lo Debar was not just a town in Hicksville. Lo Debar was also the scene of the defeat of Saul’s once mighty army and the place of Jonathan’s death. Talk about being in a depressing, hopeless and bitter spot: well Lo Debar sure fits the bill. Now it just might be that as we are entering a New Year that you look back and can only remember the loss of a loved one, a broken relationship or a moral failure. In fact, that place of pain may still be so powerful that you have bought a house there and moved in!
But the good news in that You are not forgotten by the King! Not content just to hear about you, God is sending you an invitation to return. Lo Debar is not your home. Last year might have been a horrible mess, but God has something way better for the future. He has sent you an invitation, but you have to open the envelope and read His promise. Are you ready to start packing? Lo Debar might be your address today, but Jesus has a place prepared for you that is better than anything you can possibly imagine!