When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers …. what is man, that you are mindful of him? (Ps 8:3-4)
Many years ago I was returning from a trip to Poland with a team of three other men. We had had a good visit, encouraging the church and seeing God move in various ways, and were encouraged ourselves. Now we were on the long drive home, looking forward to getting back to our wives and families. We had safely crossed all the borders, the car was going well, and the last potential obstacle was the ferry crossing from Calais to Dover. We prayed that God would give us His favour, and we wouldn’t have to wait for hours at the end of a queue.
When we reached the port there was a ferry just about ready to leave, with the last few spaces being filled. We looked at the line of waiting cars, and wondered how long it would be before the next ferry came in. Then, somehow, and I’m still not sure how it happened, we were called out of line and directed into the boarding lane; we didn’t need to be called twice, and as we drove up the ramp the huge doors began to close behind us. On the crossing I said to one of the others, ‘How did we get that last space? Our car wasn’t so different from all the others; why should God bless us, when it doesn’t quite seem fair to everyone else?’ The answer came back ‘We asked’.
I wasn’t sure about the theology then, and I’m still not quite sure now. But there is a principle here, which I have mentioned before; God knows what we’re going to pray for, but He still wants us to do the praying. ‘Ask, and you will receive’.
As I ‘consider the heavens’ and indeed, as I consider the whole world today, ‘What is man’ – or rather, who am I, that God should be mindful of me? I think of the thousands of newly unemployed in the last weeks, or the burgeoning food banks around the country, providing a lifeline to the newly impoverished; I remember the streams of desperate humanity evicted from their homelands and forced to risk their lives in the hands of traffickers, in the search for safety in a foreign land; I read of the thousands of children in India who have mysteriously ‘disappeared’. ….. and I ask, Why am I so favoured in my life? Why do I have so much, when so many have so little?
Lord, I don’t understand this ‘why’. I am immensely grateful for all your blessings, I am so abundantly provided for out of your loving, gracious Fatherhood. And I pray that I may handle the ‘riches’ you entrust to me with care, with generosity, and with an ear always open to what you want to say.