MIDWEEK ENCOURAGEMENT: Thanks be to God
Psalm 103:8-14 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
Every now and then life presents us with opportunities to look back and take stock of what we have just lived or lived through. Adolescence is our first experience of this and often the worst as we can be highly critical on just about everything about ourselves. Another famous landmark is in the early 30s – often also a significant “review” crisis and then the midlife pitstop where the real crisis often hits. We need these reviews because they allow us to plan and recalibrate as we continue our ways. We also have the end of every calendar year as such a review. I remember the queen of Britain once remarking that particular year was annus horribilis for her – a most horrible year. And so we also tend to look back at our last calendar year.
For many this past year may have been one in which God felt distant and perhaps with his face turned away from me. Through disease, loss, trauma, conflict, need, relationship failures, business collapse, amongst others, we may have concluded that God forgot about us for a while – even though our faith tells us this is not possible. Perhaps we are short on thanks because there appears to be little to be thankful for. And yet for others it may have been the most magnificent year in terms if success, achievements, relationships, joyful experiences and so on. For them it may ignite an unlimited pouring out of thanks to God. In both cases though we’d be well reminded to keep a clear perspective on what God does for us despite our getting stuck in how well things in the world goes or doesn’t go for us.
We shall give thanks to God constantly because it not only reminds us of his goodness, but also of love so encompassing that it allows us to overcome all our trials and suffering. We will do well to focus our thanks predominantly on the Spiritual life He has availed us. After that the worldly experiences, although intense at times, are positioned secondary to where God has placed me and How he engages me. May these review times make this abundantly clear to us again.
Love to all