If you’re anything like me, you are prone to despair. If you’re anything like me, the sky seems to be falling at any given moment and it seems like the world is against you most of the time. If you’re anything like me, you get discouraged easily.
I really think that the large part of this is that we forget.
We forget what lies in the past and what is ahead. We forget it because the now seems so pressing and painful and well, so NOW…up in your face.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed when life just presses its proverbial thumb on you and grinds you into the dust.
I realized this morning that the reason I keep doing that, the reason I continually respond that way is because I forget. Allow me to explain…
As I’ve talked about ad nauseam recently, there have been some hard times for me and my family. I won’t belabor those points; you are welcome to go back and read former blog posts. But it happened again this week. I got turned down for three jobs, among other things that happened this week.
The hits just keep on coming. It’s like ground and pound.
The world, our flesh and Satan just absolutely pound us. And it’s not getting better and it’s not going to get better until Jesus returns.
This morning I got up and I was tired. I was physically tired because I hadn’t slept much. Stress and working at night and worry and stuff like that will do that. So I was tired. And I needed to hear from God. I needed to spend time with Him, to know things were going to be okay, that we were going to be okay, that I wasn’t going to lose my mind or my faith.
So I stumbled out of bed tired. I made some coffee and was just bleary. You know that feeling where you know you’re awake but everything feels fuzzy and weird like you’re actually dreaming? That was me. And man, I needed that coffee.
I poured my first cup of coffee and walked back to my office so that I could spend time in the Word and prayer. And my youngest daughter was standing in the hall to greet me. It wasn’t even daylight and she was already up. I was like…well, I won’t tell you what I said under my breath ‘cause it wasn’t repeatable.
Anyways, I changed her diaper and got her some milk and she sat down on the couch. I turned some cartoons on for her and thought, “Great, my morning is shot.” But then…and I can only think it was the Holy Spirit…I felt prompted to pray and read anyway. So I sat in the living room. Now, I practice daily Bible reading and prayer according to the Daily Office of the Anglican Church. I read whatever is in the lectionary reading for that day for my Scripture reading. So I prayed the opening prayer of confession along with the Pascha Nostrum (you’ll have to look it up). I opened to the prayer book to see what the lectionary reading was. The first reading was Psalm 103.
Remember, I had asked God to meet me in my need this morning. I needed a “word” from the LORD. Here is what I read. I’ll just put in the first five verses.
“Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all our iniquities,
Who heals all our diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” (NASB, emphasis mine)
Oh, how I needed to hear this today! Remember…there’s that word again. Remember that I have no control over the lectionary. I had no idea what I was going to be reading, only that I needed a touch of Abba’s hand. I needed encouragement.
Read that text again. Actually, read the entire psalm. But look at the first fiver verses again. Maybe you need to hear this today also. Maybe you’re going through something and you need a word.
You have forgotten.
Remember, my friend.
Forget none of His benefits.
And what are those benefits? Well, the Psalmist happily lists them for us.
1. He pardons our iniquities.
2. He heals all our diseases.
3. He redeems our life from the pit.
4. He crowns us with lovingkindness and compassion.
5. He satisfies our years with good things.
I mean, what else do you need?!
If you’re like me, you can look at this and think, yeah but things are rough right now..how is that satisfying my years with good things? That’s a fair question. I think the answer is one of perspective. I’ll explain.
I had a friend who used to say that some people were “so heavenly minded, they were no earthly good.” While I understand what was meant by this, I think perspective means the precise opposite of this. If we keep in mind, if we remember, if we have the proper perspective, it is precisely because we are so heavenly minded that we are any earthly good.
Don’t be like me. Don’t forget.
Remember what God has done for us in Christ.
Remember what He is doing in us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Remember what He will do for us in eternity.
Soli Deo Gloria!