Psalm 119:176 I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands.
After this great long Psalm in which the writer comes across as a great Bible scholar, he ends with this humble, rather plaintive verse that confesses his own inability to stay on the path. The image of the shepherd seeking the lost sheep was a familiar one to everyone in those days, and Jesus famously used it in his parable of the lost sheep. (Matthew 18:12-14) The image of God as the Great Shepherd of the sheep (Hebrews 13:20) is a warm and comforting one for anyone familiar with sheep farming. The writer’s specific point seems to be that simply knowing God’s commands doesn’t guarantee that we keep them, and failure to keep them makes us wander. The good news is, as Jesus said in His parable, that God does care and He does seek us out when we wander, even though He knows precisely where we are at all times. The “seeking out” is more of a reaching out, making us aware of God rather than the other way around. Many things in life can dull our awareness of God, and we need His touch to remind us that he’s been there all along.
This is very applicable right now. I was talking with a close friend just yesterday about how I seem to have been given a spiritual gift of faith, because I find I can’t not believe that God is there and that He has a good plan, but then I’m not experiencing intense physical pain the way my wife is at this point. I find that our “song of the month” has been running through my head with remarkable frequency the past few days. It’s originally Korean, and was introduced to us in the Japanese version by one of our members. I translated it from the Japanese version to English, so I can’t be totally assured of the accuracy, but it says, “The Lord’s blood has cleansed my soul forever. The Lord’s blood has set me ever free. I will praise the Lord for all He’s done for me. I will give my soul, my everything to Him. The Lord’s hands were torn to give me healing, and the Lord’s feet were pierced to pay for all my sin. Now I live not for myself but for my Lord. He has given up His life that I might live. On the hands of the Lord I’ll place my hands. My feet I’ll place with His and take the nails with Him. For if I die with Jesus I also know I’ll live with Him eternally. I will live for Christ my Lord.” As I see my wife’s suffering I am sharply aware of what Jesus suffered for us, and I remember that He spoke John 16:33 before He was scourged and crucified, knowing full well what was going to happen. I need to live my life in gratitude and obedience, whatever that means in the short term, trusting that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You that Cathy does check into the hospital today for the surgery that will hopefully deal with all this pain. I continue to pray Your touch, physical, emotional, and spiritual, for her so that she would come through this receiving all that You intend for her in it, for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!