“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6 NIV)
There is something to be said for consistency. Remember that this verse follows David’s thankfulness that his God “prepare[s] a table before [him] in the presence of [his] enemies” and “anoint[s] [his] head with oil.” These are remarkable signs of God’s goodness and love, demonstrated through hospitality and provision even in the midst of hostile circumstances.
So, when David follows this up with a celebration that God’s “goodness and love will follow” him throughout his life, he is celebrating that this isn’t just a one-time expressions of grace. Rather, this is at the heart of God’s character. And it’s only one (though quite memorable) expression of the goodness and love of God toward him. David knows he is blessed.
No matter what he had done over the course of his life–things he was proud of, things he was not proud of–he never got away from the goodness of God. Relentless goodness is simply part of who God is.
This does not mean we are incapable of feeling far from God. But perhaps this reinforces that when we feel far from God and want that experience to change, our first step is simple: stop moving. We may just find the goodness of God right there ready to eclipse us with grace.
Training: Busyness is an enemy of soul work. Busyness can so tax our senses with its heightened anxiety that our capacity to perceive God’s goodness in tangible ways is diminished. Pastor, teacher, and writer Eugene Peterson distinguishes between being active and being busy. Being active involves diligent and disciplined commitment to one’s calling and work. Being busy involves undisciplined reactiveness to every indiscriminate demand upon one’s time. They may both look like a full calendar of tasks and appointments. But active is purposeful, while busy is near out of control. Hopefully you’ve experienced both and get the distinction I’m trying to make. A difficult but good cure for the anxious reactiveness of busyness is quiet and solitude. This is not easy for everyone. A way to begin is simply to take a few minutes for stillness and quiet. For the more fidgety among us, taking a walk (or going for a run) can be a way to claim some silence while allowing the body movement.
Prayer: God, thank you that grace, goodness, and love are at the heart of who you are. When I am distracted in my soul by the busyness of my life, help me to pause and recognize your goodness and love at my heels. Amen.