Walking With Christ

Counting Days, Confirming Work, Making Muffins

Psalm 90. I guess it’s sort of a popular Psalm for New Year’s Day, but I didn’t realize that when I read it this morning. I came across an old article about it a few days ago, and then decided to read it for myself this morning.

This morning. I got up early to spend time reading last year’s journal (didn’t happen), and my Bible, and then praying about the new year. But then I remembered that I had a deadline for writing a remembrance for someone as well as a houseful of sleeping teens and twenty-year olds who would wake up hungry in a couple of hours.

Hungry. Sometimes Robert (who is away now, and for nearly a month) jokes about why God made us to require regular meals. The planning, the groceries, the cost, the storage, the cooking, the cleaning. And the repeating of it all throughout the day and week and month….and years. It often feels like a full time job. I remember one of my favorite female Bible teachers talking about the moment she realized that having a husband and children meant feeding them, regularly.

Not the muffins I made this morning.

“How in the world am I going to prepare three meals a day for these people?” she pondered. “You know what I found out?” she exclaimed, “You just do it.” I had to laugh, because she was right. You just do it.

So, I pulled out the eggs and the muffin tin and the coffee and started to work. And yes, I know they could have eaten cereal, but we don’t really do cereal around here, so that simple, American, go-to breakfast would have required a trip to the grocery store in sub-zero temperatures. Eggs, sausage, and muffins was just easier. Not to mention that eating cereal for breakfast requires another meal about an hour later, because…carbs.

Muffins. I usually love making muffins for my family and overnight guests, but there’s been a lot of muffin-making here (literally and metaphorically) in the last weeks and months and years, and though I usually don’t struggle to see the value in my domestic work (see the title/explanation of this blog), on this New Year’s morning I found myself asking God, “Has any of this mattered? Has anyone really benefitted from square meals and hospitality and muffins? If I’d just stayed in bed, would anyone really be worse off?”

New Year’s. I did happen to make it to midnight last night (barely), which could have contributed to my melancholy musings this morning.

So, I finished the meal, headed to the basement, opened to Psalm 90, and was astonished to receive such direct answers to those semi-hopeless, breakfast-making thoughts. After copying verses 12-17 in my journal, I wrote this:

I kinda hate starting the new year with another declaration of fatigue and weariness, but here I am hiding in the basement after cooking and cleaning all day yesterday to get ready for guests, and tending to a sick (big) kid, and cooking breakfast all morning after composing a note of tribute for an old friend while everyone slept. And Robert is gone for the month and the trash is piling up (we missed pick-up after Christmas), and the main drain pipe in the basement is leaking and requiring multiple checks and repeated bucket-emptying trips…and it is -4 this morning.

But Moses is encouraging me to be glad in these days of affliction and trouble – he’s saying I can number my days, making them count toward a heart of wisdom, and present that to you in worship, Lord.

Even my contemplations, as I made yet another batch of muffins, regarding whether any of this sacrifice and service has made a difference were answered when Moses asks You to confirm (or make permanent) the works of their hands. He even asks it twice, as if to say, “Please, God. Make it all mean something. Let it have eternal significance of some sort.”

And I know that You do. You establish the works that we do and give them meaning, which is so amazing, because our lives are so short and seemingly futile, and You are holy and everlasting.

Futilty. I looked up a couple of sermons on this Psalm before I left for the gym after breakfast and Bible reading and prayer journaling. This one by Dr. Kim Riddlebarger is the one I chose for my treadmill run. He perfectly reinforced my basement Bible gleanings…

“If the Lord’s favor rests upon us, then our lives are not in vain. God will establish the work of our hands. That is, what we do in this life will not be futile. What we do will count for something…

For those who seek God’s wisdom and know God’s favor through faith in Jesus Christ, the futility of life disappears…

If we seek God’s wisdom, then we will know that He has poured out His wisdom and favor upon us in the person of Jesus Christ…

Once we believe that what God has promised is that all things will work together in this life for good (Romans 8:28), we know He can say that, because He has already secured for us all the blessings of the next (in Jesus)…

O, Death, where is your sting?

No longer is life here vanity and endless futility. And so with Moses, teach us, Lord, to number our days.”

Also not the muffins I made this morning.

Moses and muffins. I wonder if Moses knows he (and God) wrote a Psalm (the oldest Psalm of all, most likely) that showed me the meaning and eternal significance of muffin making (among many other things) on this first day of 2018?

I look forward to chatting with him about that.

And I look forward to praying along with him that God would confirm and make permanent the (good) works of my hands this year – which I think is going to be a big one – making me glad all of the coming 365 days (of affliction and trouble, of celebration and joy) because of His steadfast love in Jesus.

Happy New Year!