Enjoying the Goodness of my Father’s House
“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me
All the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of Jehovah
For the length of my days.”
Like David, I too must declare that the Lord’s goodness and lovingkindness has filled my life, and for the rest of my days I will remain here in the local church, enjoying the riches of my Father’s house. In 1977, without planning it, much less deserving it, I was extremely blessed to be born into a family that dearly loves the Lord Jesus and that has made the Lord’s interest its sole aim. Growing up in such a moral and spiritually healthy environment, I believe the Lord has preserved me from much of the influence of this “crooked and perverted generation” (Philippians 2:15). Yet, even more importantly, my parents pursuit of Christ, their living Christ day by day, and their faithful serving in the church has attracted me beyond words, caused me to pray to receive the Lord, and imparted into me a longing to give my life to Him.
By the time I was eleven, however, I began to see that the Lord had blessed me with much more than just my parents; He had blessed me with but with the church. I can never forget that day on November 6, 1988 before getting baptized how I wept before the Lord Whose presence was overwhelmingly real to me, and prayed to give myself to the Lord. When I came up out of the water, I was filled with indescribable joy as I stared into the shining faces of the dear believers in the local church in Newington, CT. From that point on, I began to realize that these believers genuinely cared for me, desiring that I would grow up to love and serve the Lord. From young people’s meetings to Summer Schools of the Truth to the daily church meetings these older believers in Christ led me to touch the Lord through praying and singing with my spirit and deposited into me the rich, living Word of God.
As if this was not enough, the Lord further blessed me when our family moved to Taiwan for six months and then to Moscow, Russia for two of my high school years. I view these moves as the Lord’s mercy to preserve me during critical and formative years of my life and to open my eyes to the building up of the Body of Christ. Having grown up in the local church in the small town of Newington, CT, it would have been easy to remain in my own small world with little or no consideration of God’s move on this earth to gain a corporate expression of Himself. (Ephesians 1:22-23) Though in a different culture, I saw how in the Spirit all the believers really are one. Whether in Newington or Moscow what the Lord wants is the same—a group of redeemed, regenerated, and transformed believers built up as the living Body of Christ. (Ephesians 2:22) Now, wherever I go, I truly feel at home in the church.
Finally, during my four years in college, the Lord brought me through many experiences both on mountain tops and in valleys (Psalm 23), to draw me closer to Him so that He could make His home deeper in my heart. (Ephesians 3:17) In hard times when I felt like giving up, the Lord’s love constrained me. I felt just as Peter did when he said in John 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.” After tasting the goodness of the Lord and seeing His heart’s desire, I do not want to go elsewhere. The church, as His Body, is my rest forever, here will I dwell.