Wisdom Lets “Them” Catch You
Have you ever sensed that someone was following you? It’s not a good feeling…usually.
One time in college, roughly a year after the time I woke from my sleep with a man pointing a knife in my back (frightening, but amazing story…not for this blog, though you can read about it in the book “My Morning Cup”), I thought I was being followed. It was late at night as I drove my Ford Mustang home from a campus Bible study and entered into the deserted parking lot behind my dorm. I had a sense that I was being followed by the car behind me, but didn’t know if I was just uber (no pun intended) sensitive because of the earlier terrifying experience. When the car in question also pulled into the parking lot behind me, I turned around and pulled out—driving to Wyndham’s dorm so he could ride with me to park my car and walk me to my dorm. I was extremely relieved to be accompanied, or followed to my dormitory door by my boyfriend. (I continued this practice of not walking back from the lot alone from that time onward.) I don’t know if it was a coincidence, or if I was, in fact, being followed, but it was eerie and uncomfortable—and I didn’t want to find out the hard way which scenario was true.
There are other times, when being followed brings sweet relief, such as when your car acts up and someone follows you to the mechanic. Or, when your dog follows behind your precious, but crumb-dropping toddler—thus serving as a personal vacuum cleaner.
Today, I hope you can find comfort in the fact that you are being followed.
My friend, Angela Christoffel, is a master encourager. Though she has a daughter with a brain tumor who has endured numerous surgeries, chemo treatments, and continual seizures (holding on to life by a thread many times)— Angela still encourages. She quit her job as a lawyer to provide needed care, and in the recent past had a serious car accident that left her with post-concussion syndrome. After reading my blog a couple of weeks ago, “Wisdom Finds the End of Me,” Angela sent me an encouraging note. (Update: As a follow up to the referenced blog, I received a cortisone shot for a large Baker cyst and complex flapping tear in my meniscus. Thankfully, the shot mitigated the pain, the Baker thing ruptured, and I’ll soon have the tear cleaned up with an orthoscopic procedure. All good.) In the note she sent, Angela shared with me a verbal picture from the beloved 23rd Psalm. I found great encouragement from her words, so will pass the thought forward. Thank you, Angela.
Psalm 23: 6, in many of the well-known versions (such as the NRSV) states,
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long.
Angela shared that the Hebrew word used for “follow” is radap, which really means pursue (or chase). The NLT captures this meaning as it states, Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever. (Mercy, in this context, from the Hebrew word checed, is more often translated as kindness, love, or loving-kindness.)
Angela continued as she shared:
I like the visual of two people named Goodness and Loving-kindness following me throughout my life–every day. Not just the days I get it right but the days I get it wrong or feel hopeless, too. So, I am praying as your day goes along and the pain in your knee is driving you nuts that you will feel two of “God’s people” pursuing you with goodness and loving-kindness filling your glass—so it is not empty.
I just love this visual of goodness and loving-kindness pursuing me—because they really are chasing me.
Wisdom allows “them” to catch you. I don’t wish to keep goodness and loving-kindness at a distance, or desire to run ahead so they can’t catch me. I don’t want to do a quick turn to try to lose them.
Bring them on!
Because of God’s Spirit and wisdom, Wyndham lets these guys catch him, and hang on him. I must make sure I slow down to “be still with God” long enough so these guys can catch me. Wisdom lets “them” catch you. And they bring peace.
Angela closed her note with a prayer from Augustine:
Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give Your angels and saints charge over those who sleep.
Tend Your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest Your weary ones.
Bless Your dying ones.
Soothe Your suffering ones.
Pity Your afflicted ones.
Shield Your joyous ones, and all for Your love’s sake. Amen.
May goodness and loving-kindness reach you, and embrace you.
Jeanie – you are up early this Wednesday (or late Tuesday 😌)!!
So am I. My Mom passed away last Wednesday at 2:30AM. Thank you for your comforting posts (usually convicting and inspiring too!). I have incredible peace about my mother’s seven year journey with Dementia and am in AWE of God’s goodness and loving-kindness. May I always remember to slow down and let them catch me. I love you. Jennifer
Thank you for this encouragement Jeanie and Angela! My childhood friend (the pastor’s daughter) used to say Shirley, Goodness & Mercy as if there were three girls. 😊 I think I will pass this on to her! Margaret
Margaret, I am just now replying to comments. Thank you so much for the encouragement. The three girls statement is funny. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
When I woke this morning, my husband Greg had forwarded this to me very early in the morning. When he sends me something by email I know it’s “gonna be good”. He follows me with “goodness” knowing what I am needing many of times. As I read, I started smiling and so moved by these words and the story of your dear friend and her insights. Thank you once again for sharing.
I love your words so much. I am so blessed to have had those early years with you, but wish I could have been there when your kids were born, etc, and had been able to be with you all throughout your ministry.
I hope to spend time with you one day. It might be on the other side of heaven, but what a great visit we will have! I pray for you and Wyndham.