“The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.” Psalm 16:6 [NASB]
In the days and weeks after Sarah’s death music resonated deeply within me. Recognizing my vulnerability, I chose to only listen to music that was firmly rooted in scripture. One of the albums I listened to with regularity early on was Shane & Shane’s album, “Psalms II”. Predictably, each song on the album is based on a Psalm. It became one of my favorite albums, but every time I would listen there was one lyric I found myself unable to sing. It was a lyric from the song “Psalm 16,” “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places,” straight from verse 6 of Psalm 16.
The boundary lines for my life prior to June 8th, 2017, had absolutely fallen in pleasant places. But this new life with this soul deep, endless aching is far from pleasant. The dismantling of our family as we knew it, the instant evaporation of the life and future that had been at our fingertips only moments before, this is in no way “lines falling in pleasant places.” For weeks each time that lyric was sung, I was silent.
As I was having my quiet time this morning, the next Psalm to read and meditate on was Psalm 16. To my surprise, I realized as I read it that I am now able to praise the Lord in agreement with David in proclaiming, “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places.”
I deeply loved and appreciated the pleasant and beautiful life I had here prior to June 8th, 2017. Because of June 8th, 2017, the remainder of my days here will be marked with soul deep pain and longing for eternity.
Over the past nineteen months the Lord has been gently and gradually ratcheting my eyes upward. I realize now that all of my days prior to June 8th, 2017, should have been marked by this same soul deep longing for eternity as well.
Prior to June 8th, 2017, I intellectually embraced the fact that my hope and inheritance are in eternity. I understood that my hope was to be fixed completely on the grace to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:13). I intellectually knew that I was just a sojourner here (Psalm 39:12). But I confess I really, really loved my life here. Had Jesus stood before me to carry me home, I likely would have said, “Not yet, Lord, I have things here yet to do, children to see married, grandchildren to meet…” In doing so I would have chosen the temporal over the eternal.
“I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:7-8 [NASB]
My elevating of the temporal over the eternal rendered me unable to sing with David (and Shane & Shane), “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.” It took the Lord’s faithful and gentle ratcheting of my eyes upward over the past nineteen months for me to rejoice in my soul this morning as I read those Words.
The beautiful blessings and the agonizing losses of this life are not the pleasant places marked by the lines fallen for me, they are not my inheritance. The lines that “have fallen for me in pleasant places” are the lines that were drawn for me in the precious blood of Jesus. The lines “fallen for me in pleasant places” mark out an inheritance for me that is indeed more pleasant than I can think or imagine.
“but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND [which] HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 [NASB]
Praise Him that through His grace we who believe can all confidently proclaim, “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.” He is both our inheritance and the holder of our inheritance. In just a little while we will step into eternity with Him and all who have loved Him and preceded us (Heb. 10:37). May this glorious truth spur us on in urgent surrender for the remainder of our journey. Come, Lord Jesus!
“For this reason also, since the day we heard [of it,] we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please [Him] in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” Colossians 1:9-12 [NASB]
Artwork: Sarah Harmening