Don’t Know What You’ve Got…

Don't Know What You've Got...

And don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

-from Joni Mitchell song “Big Yellow Taxi”


Have you heard that phrase before:  “You don’t know what you’ve got till its gone?”  I have experienced this a little differently in my life–most memorably in college.  I grew up and spent the first 21 years of my life just outside the Roanoke Valley.  Resting in the valley, this area is surrounded by the glorious Blue Ridge Mountain Range.

When I got to college, a lot of my peers talked about how beautiful the mountains were.  A lot of my friends came from the mid-west or other areas of flat land.  They were amazed at the grandeur of the mountain peaks that surrounded our campus.  When they found out that I was from the area they would tell me how lucky I was.  Hollins University even had a tradition that has continued for centuries that revolves around cancelling classes and climbing Tinker Mountain.  Everyone around me seemed to amazed by these mountains.  And suddenly, my eyes were opened to the beauty of the mountains, too.  To my dismay, I had taken the mountains for granted.  I didn’t know what I had until someone pointed it out to me (though, that doesn’t sound as good in a song).

Similarly, we were able to share the beauty of nature around us with our family last week.  We spent the week at White Lake where Jason and his family had spent many summers when he was growing up.  We got to share that experience with our own children last week.  We were able to pass on the beauty of White Lake to them.  It was so sweet and life giving to share with our family such wonderful memories.  I will always look at the lake and remember such sweet times resting, watching my kids play and trying new things.


It seems that the Psalmist had a similar experience in our Psalm for this week.  In Psalm 119:105-112, the author is realizing the significance of God’s word in their life in new ways.  In verse 105 it is clear that the psalmist knows the significance of the scripture.  As we keep reading, we see that there are experiences that helped the psalmist get to that view.  The psalmist describes an action and then describes how they view God’s word because of that action.  For example,

  • v. 108 action:  “Accept my offerings of praise”; response to God’s word:  “teach me your ordinances.”
  • v. 110 action: “The wicked have laid a snare for me”; response to God’s word:  “I do not stray from your precepts.”

The psalmist sees the Word of God in new light depending on their life’s journey.

How have experiences in your life changed the way you read scripture?  What scripture has become more important to you because of particular life experiences?

Just as I was able to discover the true beauty of the mountains that surrounded me when someone else pointed it out, what things have you discovered with the help of others in your life?  What experiences have you passed on?  What can you share with others?  Because remember…sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until someone points it out!



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