Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mystery of Providence - Chapter 10a

The Advantages of Meditating on Providence

This is a long chapter, and it might be a couple of days before I complete it, thus this "10a" post, assuming that there will be others before I am done.

Last night I was slapped with a flash of understanding as I read the following:

What unspeakable comfort it is for a poor soul, that sees nothing but sin and vileness in itself, at the same time to see what a high esteem and value the great God has for him! This may be discerned by a due attendence to Providence, for there a man sees goodness and mercy following him through all his days (Ps. 23.6.). Other men pursue good, and it flies from them, they can never overtake it; but goodness and mercy follow the people of God, and they cannot avoid or escape it. It gives them chase day by day, and finds them out even when they sometimes put themselves by sin out of the way of it. In all the providences that befall them goodness and mercy pursue them. O with what a melting heart do they sometimes reflect upon these things! 'And will not the goodness of God be discouraged from following me, notwithstanding all my vile affronts and abuses of it in former mercies? Lord, what am I, that mercy should thus pursue me, when vengeance and wrath pursue others as good by nature as I am?' (pg. 150)

Prior to reading this I had always considered "goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life" as being passive; Goodness and mercy would eventually show up, it would finally catch up with me, etc.

However, as Flavel states, goodness and mercy chase after the children of God. It pursues us, even while we are trying to run away from it. They are active, they are relentless, they will will not be frustrated in accomplishing God's purposes.

A pilgrim was I, and a wandering,
In the cold night of sin I did roam,
When Jesus the kind Shepherd found me,
And now I am on my way home.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days, all the days of my life;
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days, all the days of my life.

I believe that I will never again see the words of this song, or the words of the Psalm, as passive. "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me", and I won't be able to lose their tail.

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