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the tiniest details…

I guess it’s excusable to take your time getting through Psalm 119. It goes on for 176 verses, probably written by King David during an all nighter as he sat hunched over a pot of coffee. What’s worrisome is that I’ve been stuck on the same few verses in Psalm 119 for several days. At this rate, I will spend the next decade in Psalm 19. Worse things have been done for decades, I guess.

I’ve been in verses 25-32, but the specific one I’m hung on this morning is verse 30.

I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations.

Some choices are once and for all. You make the choice, you can’t undo it and reaffirming it means nothing anyway…like the choice to get a tattoo. Or amputate. Either one is a one-time decision that you’ll never deny or reverse.

The choice for faithfulness or the determiniation to live by God’s regulations isn’t like that. If I chose it yesterday, it’s mine to choose again today. If I choose it this morning, I’ll be choosing it again before noon. The choice is made and remade with a hundred course corrections during the day.

Those little detail-choices – the choice to speak ill of someone, the decision to believe a lie when we know the truth – those are the choices that, given time to mature, bring disaster.

I’ve been following the search for Steve Fossett. I’ve always kept up with him because he is such a bigger-than-life character. In 2001, when Jackson was just 8, he and I tracked Fossett’s failed attempt to circumnavigate the globe via balloon. We had a chart on the wall of my office in the Wood Trail house and we’d log onto the internet (remember logging on?!? dial tone, du-du-du…du-du-du-du….. awwwwwwww sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee krrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!) and get the lastest news, then mark it on our chart until he ditched in Brazil.

Even now, searchers are scouring the Nevada desert, unsure of where to look because he didn’t file a flight plan. Of course, everyone hopes that he’s safe, but doubts are beginning to surface as they consider the terrain and wildly fluctuating temperatures.

Here’s the irony…if he suffered what pilots like to call ‘an unintentional landing’, it was probably not due to gross neglect. Fossett has flown all over the world in all sorts of aircraft. He didn’t live this long by being careless. If Fossett crashed to the desert floor, it was probably because of a number of small oversights – misreading a gauge, a stronger wind than anticipated, a misfire in an engine – simple little lapses in judgment or circumstance that multiplied until the cumulative effect overpowered the safety systems in place.

It is entirely possible to do all the big things right and crash having muffed the details.

You and I are faced with the potential for similar oversights and misjudgments today. Pay attention to the gauges. Make course corrections the minute you notice you’ve strayed. Repeatedly choose to be faithful and determine to live by the regulations of God.

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3 Responses

  1. That’s pretty good considering you got it out before 7:00 am. That birthday coffee must be really good!

  2. good words. no wonder you’re stuck in Psalm 119. it’s the little things isn’t it that trip us up. and the little choices that free us up.

  3. Good thoughts. I appreciate your insight and how true it is that the small things make the big difference.

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