This past Friday, we celebrated the life and passing of Joyce Haffner. Joyce was the wife of my cousin Ed Haffner. One of our fond memories is Ed and Joyce bringing my parents with them to Cleveland, TN for the college graduation of Christian and Stephanie. Here is a picture of Christian with Ed and Joyce from that graduation event in 2003. Christian joined me in officiating the memorial service.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” Psalm 34:23,24 NLT
These verses are ones that became an anchor and source of encouragement when I was a pastor and our church was involved in a major relocation effort.
When you journey in life, just like a walk in the wilderness, it is good to have a guide. It is good to have someone who knows the way and is there to look out for you.
When I read the Lord directs the steps of the godly, I like to think of the guide who says, “this way” or “no not that direction over here.”
It is also good to know that the Lord is pleased with us as we submit our lives to Him and trust in Him. I’m not sure how many really have that sense of confidence. The default seems to rely too much on our own merit, even though we believe and proclaim the grace of God. The psalmist declares of the “godly” – “the Lord delights in every detail of their lives.”
I had the opportunity on Friday to lead the memorial service for Joyce Haffner, a cousin of mine. Joyce and her husband Ed attended my church and I have memories of them throughout my life. Joyce was a good mom and an even better grandmother. I think of Joyce when I read of the Lord, “delighting in every detail of our lives.” She was that way with her grandchildren.
One of her grandson’s is a surgeon. As he shared his memories of his grandmother he began by saying, “this is the first talk I have given that I didn’t have grandmother listen to and give me feedback.” He went on and told how he even shared a very technical medical speech that he had prepared. When he finished, grandmother looked at him and sad, “that was very nice!” He said, “I know she had no clue what I was talking about.” But that is delighting in every detail of a person’s life.
Psalm 37:24 is the verse that encourages us all. “Tough they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” As a parent I can recall, holding my child’s hand when they were small and having them stumble. But because I had their hand, they did not fall. It can be reassuring to know that the Lord is not only with us, but that He is “holding our hand” as we journey through life.
The challenge is to cooperate. Just like a small child will at times refuse the parents desire to provide safety and security, we can have an “I-don’t-need-help” attitude. Trusting in the Lord, recognizing our need of His help is not a sign of weakness, it is a demonstration of wisdom.
Let’s be those who are wise and demonstrate child-like trust and connection to the Lord. As we do we are assured of His smile and we can be safe by His side.
Prayer for today….. Lord thank You for being our guide; for taking delight in us. Help us to surrender and relax in Your care knowing that when we journey with You, we never have to live in fear.