It’s wonderful how we can be encouraged by a conversation and a simple reference to the Psalms.
I was sharing a bit of my story this morning with a good friend and a pastor at the church I’ll be attending again, once my relocation is complete. One of the points I wanted to make with my friend had to do with the clarity of hindsight in our lives, as well as the good news that came my way recently and how I feel because of it. But mostly I wanted to give voice to some specific things I now recognize as nothing less than the hand of God in my life these past several years.
Although it’s easy to rejoice in good news, if we simply leave it there and neglect to thank God as the source of all that is good in our lives and reflect on the lessons taught through the trials in life, then I believe we haven’t learned from the trials that God allows in our lives. Read the book of Job in the Old Testament, particularly the early chapters, for a lesson on how one man responded to a rather remarkable trial.
While I am in no way trying to compare the last several years of my life to that of Job’s, I am saying that there is comfort in Job’s story. But that’s for another time. Back to my friend and his words of encouragement from two of the Psalms he referenced: chapters 40 and 103.
Psalm 40:1-3 reads: I waited paitiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.”
Did you catch that last part? “He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.” God is the source of all that is good in our lives, and He even gives us the praise that we give voice to when sharing our good news with others. It would be a shame for me to not voice that praise and the obvious source of it.
The other Psalm my pastor friend referenced was Psalm 103. Let’s look at the first few verses: “Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”
My immediate take-away from this Psalm of David, without getting too deep into David’s life, is the repeated refrain “let all that I am praise the Lord.” I certainly hope I did that during the dark times and I definitely want to do this in the times of joy.
As I shared some of the details of my story with my pastor friend, he encouraged me to consider sharing this with others in the church, particularly the new men’s ministry getting started locally. There is so much to my story not yet told that now, through the clarity of hindsight and God’s continued blessings I hope to share here too a means of encouragement to others.
Suffice to say our God is much bigger than many of us give Him credit for and is intricately involved in the detail and minuscia of our daily lives that I certainly don’t want to forget or neglect to thank Him for.