Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

In The Pleasant And Not So Pleasant

His promise for the pleasant and not-so pleasant...

It had just been one of those weeks. Where the pleasant and all the unpleasant combine and at the end you’re left wondering which way is up.

A tangle of graduation plans for our youngest, photos waiting for editing that I could never get to, a cold to fend off (thank you elderberry extract and vitamin C with zinc), dinners to arrange and attend, laundry to search for (where do the socks keep going???) and errands galore on zero sleep once again. Insomnia not withstanding, I foolishly thought I was managing it all.

But the house started to resemble a war zone caked in rampant dog hair, my to-do lists danced while sleep evaded, and I’m pretty sure there was a point where I sat down in my bedroom alone to cry but tears ended up just being way too much work.

I needed chocolate, make no mistake, and I needed it yesterday.

At the end of the bed was my Bible so I hugged it to my chest and thought, “yes, this is right. He’s going to commiserate with me in this, and then all of this will change.”

Oh, when will I learn that His ways are not my ways.

I’ve been re-studying the Psalms, and my Bible opens to Psalm 16, and behold, the next verse I read is the verse that will allow me to wallow and commiserate, right?

“Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance!” Psalm 16:5,6 *emphasis mine.

Can you smell the irony?

My portion and my cup felt a lot like insomnia, anxiety, and chaos. My own inheritance smelled like three day old dishes and failure. Not exactly what David meant m’thinks.

I gaze up at the ceiling to see if He’s smirking, but all I see is fresh cobwebs and a ceiling fan that hasn’t been cleaned since 1999.

“Really Lord? You’re going to give me this happy-go-lucky verse about how blessed David was, the “happiness” verse everyone quotes whenever things go their way? When my “unpleasant places” are far outstripping the pleasant ones right now?

Lord why would You show me this?”

And whether He chose this verse or I just happened to be reading there, isn’t the point. What matters is that I wait for Him to reveal Himself in the middle of the pleasant AND the unpleasant. *emphasis mine… again.

I wait for Him to reveal Himself in the middle of the pleasant and the unpleasant. Click To Tweet

And so I wait, and slowly I look back at the words, and have I ever really understood their context and origin and deliberate life-lesson buried inside?

Apparently not the way He thinks I should.

And I want to be able to declare like David these wonderful and emphatic truths. I really do. In the pleasant and not-so-pleasant. So I do some digging in an old commentary and I find out that David was actually referencing two inheritances.

When he praises God for the boundary lines and secure lot he’s been given, he’s remembering the legacy left to him and his nation…. the Promised Land. And within that fulfilled promise was once a practical provision, David’s reference about a secure lot being cast. This was a practice dividing up plots of land to each Israelite in random casting. Therefore, no one got preferential treatment, everyone was granted whatever parcel of land they wound up with at a roll of the promised-land-dice, if you will.

Not so with God. He is saying that with God, all the boundary lines, all the lots cast for him, fall in pleasant places, that He grants us an inheritance exceedingly over and above all that we ask or need.

I stop to really drink that in for a minute.

David’s verses are saying that although God has already been more than faithful, on a spiritual and eternal level, God is also fulfilling an even better inheritance.

Essentially, David is living within one legacy-giving inheritance while acknowledging, declaring, and longing for another, more overwhelming one.

This is something I could finally wrap my tired brain around.

And more importantly, my heart.

And listen, it took me a second but I got it. That first inheritance? Was pretty epic when you stop to think about it, and hard-won. From the moment God spoke to Moses about freeing His people right up to the Jericho walls coming down, there had been pleasant and not-so-pleasant moments, days, months, years.

I sit there for a second, considering all the epic things He’s been faithfully bringing me through, still standing, and then I think hard about the rest of His plans for me, the practical, and the eternal ones all tangled up together in a way.

I leave the room ready to face the rest of the day, saturated in His presence, restored with His promises. Also, I might or might not have hummed fairly loudly and annoyingly for the duration.

But it’s because I decide to acknowledge like David that the eternally-charged inheritance God has designed and allotted to me is even better than the former ones. And I decide to trust Him for it.

In the pleasant and not-so pleasant.

Because one day, the not-so pleasant will all pass away.

And the Great I Am will provide us with good boundary lines, and our lot in life secured.

And our delightful inheritance?

Looks an awful lot like Him.

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17 Comments

  1. Thank you for taking us through your internal dialogue. It is tempting to show the “I trust God in all things” face on the outside without sharing the struggle we sometimes go through to get to that place. I am so encouraged by Psalm 16 this morning! Visiting from the #raralinkup.

    • Christine Duncan

      June 28, 2016 at 7:28 AM

      Aw, thanks Kelly! I hoped that that internal struggle came across okay and didn’t just sounds like a lot of whining, lol. So glad it encouraged you today. I dearly love the whole chapter of that Psalm, powerful declarations in there!
      Have a blessed day, friend! Thanks again for the awesome comment!

  2. Oh, these are real and honest words here, and I’m so thankful for your journey, because I am also tempted to look at where my “lines have fallen” and to despise the boundaries. When will I learn that God sees the big picture, and that all His plans for me are full of Yes and Amen — even when I’m seeing NO all over it!

    • Christine Duncan

      June 28, 2016 at 7:30 AM

      We’re in this together, Michele, no doubt about it. That whole big picture thing… yes! Might take a lifetime for me to truly learn it, lol. So blessed each time you visit, Michele! Thank you and blessings!

  3. That was great Christine! I love how you show how you got to align your faith in God. Life is one recalibration after another. Circumstances make it so easy to lose our faith and trust in God. Especially those unpleasant ones. Thanks for not giving up 🙂
    <3 Sherry

    • Christine Duncan

      June 28, 2016 at 11:51 AM

      Recalibration! I love that! Yes! That’s it exactly. A recalibrating, a realigning. If we are filled with Him, there is NO giving up 😉 Love you, lady!!!

  4. I know you hear this all the time, but let me join in the resounding chorus. I needed to read this today. Specifically today. Specifically inheritance. Specifically in the good and the not so good places. It’s for me. Okay…..maybe for a few others as well, but it’s for me. We get so mired down in the mucky that we forget sometimes. At least I do. How great He is. How much He has already provided. How much lies ahead. Both in the good and the not so good places. Thanks one more time for a peek into the private world that moves me. I appreciate the front row seat. You rock, sister-friend!!!

    • Christine Duncan

      June 28, 2016 at 11:48 AM

      Pam, this lifts my heart so much. And He most certainly knows what we need when we need it most. Every post, before I hit publish, gets prayed over, for the eyes and hearts that might need what He wants to give. So, you’re an answer from that today. And His goodness keeps blowing me away. Thankful, very thankful for ya!!!

  5. I loved reading this post! So grateful that His boundary lines have fallen and will yet fall in pleasant places. He knows exactly where those lines need to be for me to grow best in Him. Grateful to have stopped here today. I think this is my first time here so, “Nice to meet you!” 🙂

    • Christine Duncan

      June 28, 2016 at 1:05 PM

      Awesome to meet you too, Joanne! Thanks so much. It’s pretty amazing that we have a God who not only looks after the “now” but is already carving out what He wants for us for the future and for eternity. Makes me so thankful no matter what else is happening. Hope you have an amazing and promise-filled day!

  6. I love this verse–it’s one of my favorites. It’s a great promise that has gotten me through several no-so-pleasant times.

    • Christine Duncan

      June 28, 2016 at 1:01 PM

      It IS a great promise… allows me to take a deep breath and to keep going! Hugs for your day, gurl!

  7. Don’t you love how God can pull you straight out of the woe-is-me places and remind us that it’s just not all that. As hard as it is, I love that He pulls us up by our bootstraps and tells us to get on with it. I love more that He goes with us. Yes – the not so pleasant passes, but His pleasures are forevermore. Love you, friend.

    • Christine Duncan

      June 28, 2016 at 1:51 PM

      Your comment instantly makes me think of the scripture that says He lifted me up from the miry clay, Tiffany. And we get to stand on His promises. So cool. And gosh, but I have to say a big amen at the thought that we don’t do it alone, but He is there. Love you, girl. Grateful every week for you!

  8. Clinging to the promise that “one day the not so present will pass away!” Sharing the same kind of week and stepping into hope and giving thanks for all of God’s faithfulness through the pleasant and not so pleasant. Thanks so much for message that brings us back to center.

  9. Love when He meets you like this and sets you straight. Even if unpleasant comes first—so grateful for the job and hope that come when we just listen and follow in His way. I love this, Christine. So glad the Lord teaches you so clearly and that you share it. My heart is stirred to praise!!

  10. What a beautiful post, dear friend. You are right — God has given us so much … we just need to open our eyes to see this in the pleasant and not so pleasant moments of life. P.S. I’m totally with you on the whole needing chocolate YESTERDAY thing. 😛 😛 😛 I left my chocolate at home yesterday and I was allll out of sorts. LOL love you! HUGS!

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