Virtual Reality

We are living in a virtual world these days. I spend a part of every week in Zoom committee and staff meetings, and catching up on FaceTime with friends in New York and Europe, and family in Texas. On Saturday I attended a Men's Breakfast online. On Sundays, Audrey and I go to Bible Fellowship together (something we never get to do!). Our teacher is in Arizona and class members are scattered from the DMV to Florida, but still we discuss the Bible in real time, face to face. Sunday night our church even conducted a business meeting with over 90 church members present! With discussion and voting!

Our gatherings may have to be virtual right now, but our experience with God can and must be real and intimate.

Over this past weekend I was drawn more than once to Psalm 16, and it has reminded me of God's presence and His promises to all of us. We take our refuge in Him, and that is the safest place to be. In times of pandemic—and in more normal times, too.

I love the sheer beauty and poetry of verses 5 and 6:

"LORD, you alone are my portion and my
You make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me
in pleasant places;

surely I have a delightful

This is a word about the past. And it is certainly my testimony. Mine has been a blessed life indeed. "Pleasant places?" Yes—the chance to spend years at a time with the salt of the earth people of Southside Virginia and Piedmont North Carolina. To enjoy the Eden that we considered Orlando to be. Now to be living and working at the very center of the world—in the Washington, DC area. The churches I have served have been warm-hearted and ever-expressive in their love and support for me. These have been gifts in no way earned or deserved.

It's also a word about the present.

"I will praise the LORD...I will keep my eyes always on the LORD," verses 7-8.
"My heart is glad and my tongue rejoices," verse 9.

My response to all He has given can only be worship—on Sundays, and always.

And this psalm also contains a great word in verses 10-11 about the future, what God has in store for me:

"You will not abandon me to
the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one

see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
 you will fill me with joy in your
 With eternal pleasures at your right

He has set me on the right path and, as we discussed in Bible Fellowship on Sunday, from Romans 8. He holds onto me securely when I stumble. Nothing can separate me from His love, not now ...or in the future. Then, those "eternal pleasures at His right hand" when it comes time to move on from this life to the next.

In other words: With God, it's all good.

Not that there hasn't been a good share of sorrow. Or pain here and there along the way. It comes to us all. But even then—back to Charlie Black's lesson on Sunday—He has been able to take all those things and begin to bring good from them. "Good" is whatever makes me more like Jesus.  And I may not see it for a while. But I will.

What I know with total confidence is this: He is my Lord, and apart from Him I have no good thing (Psalm 16:2). But with Him: WHAT A LIFE!

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