"...so your faces shall never be ashamed."

Yesterday morning I had breakfast among friends at the Clearing, the house where I lived previously with Reba Place Fellowship. They invited me back to stay and work here again, while I wait for Heather to return from Nigeria. I'll be helping care for a housemate with muscular dystrophy, and probably grocery shopping and house cleaning and babysitting for others, as I did during the three years I lived here before.

It was good to see the house again yesterday morning, arriving very early after my 24-hour trip. Like a homecoming, after a year away doing new things with new people. Hilda's flowers around the house are beautiful, as always.

But there was something that troubled me all through the trip back. Maybe it was just that I don't like backtracking. Or perhaps a slight feeling of failure, because I had set out to move to a new place and take up a new work and hadn't succeeded. This feeling might be deepened because I'm not sure yet if our new plan (to start a retreat ministry at Plow Creek) will work out either.

A humbling feeling, I guess. Which isn't bad, though it's a bit uncomfortable. I suppose I'd like to have more success to boast of as I return to my former home. But that thought reminds me of Paul's words, "Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord."

That feels much better, both reassuring and right. A boast that is not prideful but humble, full of gratitude and joy, pointing to the Father who loves and cares for us. And it's a boast I think I can make quite honestly. God has taken very good care of me (and Heather) since we left here a year ago. I've been especially grateful for his care through the "nameless church" friends we met in Fredericksburg; that was so perfect and overwhelmingly generous.

My prayer this morning comes from Psalm 34:

My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and be glad.

O magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
Look to him, and be radiant;
so your faces shall never be ashamed.

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him,
and saved him out of all his troubles.

O taste and see that the LORD is good!

Happy is the man who takes refuge in him!
O fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no want!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.