I was recently on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University for a trustee meeting and graduation weekend. Whenever I am on campus, it causes me to reflect on the goodness of God. I first visited the campus when I was in the eighth grade over fifty years ago. I well remember my freshman year and that I was so out of my element. Little did I know that my life would be substantially different because of the decision to attend college at this place! I met my wife and received my call to preach and made a lifetime of friends and had my mind and heart expanded all because of this one decision.

The human default seems to be one of complaint, criticism, and second-guessing. My life has not been constant smooth sailing, there have been ups and downs, loss as well as gain, disappointments as well as victories. Like you there are some things if it were possible I would go back and do differently. Regrets? I have a few. Yet, as I reflect today I can say like the psalmist: “God has been good.” I love the 16th Psalm, it is my testimony today:

Psalm 16

Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”3 As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.[2]4 The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips. 5 LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. 7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.8 I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,10 because you will not abandon me to the grave,[3] nor will you let your Holy One[4] see decay.11 You have made[5] known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. 

Key truths from Psalm 16:

  • Apart from Him, I have no good thing!
  • My life is in God’s Hands!
  • Security is found only in God!
  • God is always near! Even when it does not feel like He is!
  • I will not be shaken because God is with me!
  • My heart is glad today!
  • God will not abandon me!
  • He has made known to me the path of life!
  • He fills me with joy!

Verse six has captured my heart today: “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” When you reflect over your life, all of it, taken in its entirety, I too have to say the boundary lines of my life have fallen in pleasant places. At the end of the day, God has blessed and kept me. Did I have tough places and deep valleys? Yes! I have learned that at times He takes you through dark and difficult places to get you to a better place!

If I had it to do over again, I would! I would gladly do it all over again. I can see how the Hand of God led me all the way when I was too young and unaware He was leading; He was, in fact, directing me. When it seemed He had forgotten about me or even left me, He was there all the time. He has showered His grace upon me and Has taught me invaluable lessons along the way. When you add the joy, tears, sorrow, laughter, wins, loses, highs, lows, ups, downs, setbacks, victories, and all of the “stuff” of life, I can declare: The Lord has been good!!

2 Thoughts to “Looking Back and Looking Ahead: The Lord Has Been Good!”

  1. Billie Nolley

    I needed this today! I could so identify with what you said. I recall how out of my element I was my first year at ONC (that dates me!) and what an impact that decision has made on my life! I hate to think what wrong decisions I could have made had I gone to a state university–I really would have been out of my element!! As you said, life has not always been easy. There have been lots of difficulties. However, God has always been with me and I have been blessed through out my life. The blessings far outweigh the difficulties! His abiding presence grows sweeter every day!

  2. Reverend Susanne Blake

    I am so thankful to God for you my dearest husband of now 40 plus years. You have been my rock and my helper. You have been my kinsmen redeemer. There is none that compares with you. You are my Adam. Thank you for who you are to me and for writing such a message of hope that if we place our lives in God’s hands he always makes a way. He has lead us this far and will continue as we daily place our trust in him.

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