He who dwells in the shelter of the Most high will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.” Psalm 91:1–3
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23: 6
How can it be almost Labor Day? This summer has gone by in a blink! I have spent the last four months traveling to our new markets, meeting new friends and learning a lot about the real meaning of the phrase, “expanding the magazine.” Lesson #1: This requires more energy than I thought. FYI, sweating is not on my short list of fun things to do.
The truth is I have never been one to be overly cautious about a new challenge—a trait of which I am not particularly proud. More than one person close to me has used the word, ‘impulsive’ in their well-intentioned criticism of my full-steam-ahead method of operation. However, I have seen God use my total naiveté often to get me started on things I would never have attempted if I had taken the time to sit down and mull it over for very long.
With all of that being said, I confess that I am kind of exhausted at the moment, and it is not a surprise that I am pulling out Psalm 91 and basking in the comforting thought of “dwelling” and “resting” and being “saved” from harm.
On this Sunday afternoon as I sit down to write this letter, I hope I will be halfway coherent.
Over the past several months I have also thought and said out loud in more than a few prayers, “Lord, it would have been a whole lot easier to have done this 10 years ago when I was sharper and younger.” Soon after that observation, God reminded me of Abraham. He was 75 when God told him to leave everything he knew and go to a new place. As if that wasn’t enough, God also gave him the news that he was going to be a new father. I am glad scripture also tells us his wife Sarah laughed at the prospect. That detail surely makes the story more real. I can just imagine what went through her mind. “Abraham, you have been working too hard. Come sit down and let me explain to you why that is most certainly not going to happen.”
However, I am not laughing over this assignment. The thought of taking this magazine, which is like my BABY, to other markets scares me to death in some ways and excites me to pieces in other ways. I very much realize that God’s method of operation is always to equip the called—rather than to call the equipped—lest any of us think we managed to accomplish some good work solely on our own merits.
A few weeks ago I had this “epiphany,” a word I am using loosely. In my daily devotionals, I realized how often the word “surely” kept popping up. I did a short survey via Bible Gateway on the word “surely” in scripture. The Bible uses the word at least 300 times, and not all of them are related to good news. But it seems that if God’s word said “surely” then it meant exactly that. He is not the parent whose threats or promises are “iffy.” If the Word says “surely,” you can take it to the bank.
The word can remove a lot of anxiety from the “what ifs” of the present moment. So, on this late August afternoon when I am dead tired and the breaking news is telling me that the world is totally out of control from one side of the globe to the other, I am loving to read about “surely” from God’s point of view, and I’m thinking, “He’s got this—everything, everywhere—and it’s a sure thing.”
September is in some ways more like New Year’s than January 1. Along with football season, routines and schedules begin anew with the new school year. With great expectations, we begin a new journey. We hope you find within these pages some nugget that inspires, comforts, and energizes you in the “surely” realm of God’s perfect plan for you.