1: "Everything on earth, shout with joy to God!" - This psalm-writer is praising God for His faithfulness.
5: "Come and see what God has done, the amazing things He has done for people." - Our lives are filled with examples of the wonderful things God has done for us. Look around and see.
7: "He rules forever with His power. He keeps His eye on the nations, so people should not turn against Him." - We are to remember the stories of God rescuing the Israelites. He will forever keep His promises to His people and rescue us with His power and love.
9: "He protects our lives and does not let us be defeated." - We may experience pain and suffering but never defeat.
10: "God, you have tested us; you have purified us like silver." - Silver is purified by fire. God's objective is to make us holy, even Christ-like. He will do everything in His power to make that happen even if it means that we will face the purifying fires of pain and suffering.
12: "You let our enemies walk on our heads. We went through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place with good things." - We may never understand the whys of life but we can be assured that God "knows the plans (He) has for (us)…, plans for (our) welfare and not for harm, to give (us) a future with hope." (Jeremiah 29,11 - NRSV)
Points to Contemplate:
What amazing thing has God done for you?
Can you see that He has created you and that you are "fearfully and wonderfully made?" (Ps 139:14) Do you recognize and accept that He sent His only Son to be sacrificed for your sins? (John 3:16) Can you recount His blessings for you that He promised would out-number the stars? (Gen. 12:1-3) Have you felt Him "love you more than the sun and the stars that He taught how to shine?"1 Have you felt the Holy Spirit come upon you to guide, teach, inspire, convict, and lift you into ministry? (Acts 1:8) Will these "amazing things" cause you to shout with joy to God?
Have you experienced God's protection? Even though you have experienced difficult and challenging times have you felt God's comfort and assurance? When your life is filled with worry and anxiety has He stilled your troubled heart and filled you with a sense of peacefulness? When you have faced uncertainty and doubt has He led you to the right paths and to the areas of ministry He wants you to follow? When you were surrounded by adversaries and foes, did He erase the fear growing in your heart? When you have feared for scarcity, loneliness, or hope has His blessings caused your cup to overflow? Do you recognize that "goodness and mercy will follow (you) all the days of (your) life and that (you) shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever?" (Psalm 23)
Have you ever been tested by God? Has your faith been refined through the fires of persecution, pain, and suffering? Has God let your "enemies walk on (your) head?""through fire and flood" in order to be "brought to a place with good things?" Perhaps you have difficulty with the concept of God sending pain and suffering into our lives. Do you accept that God will use every situation you face in life as a teaching moment? Do you realize that God is constantly providing you opportunities to learn, grow, adjust, understand, expand, and shine? Are there issues in your life that God needs to work a little harder on in order to remove them? Are these impurities so deeply imbedded that they may require the fires of God's purifying love to reach in and separate them in order to make you the holy person He has created you to be? Promise of the Gospel:
When we recount the amazing things that God has done for His people throughout history we become humbled by His greatness. But, more importantly, we discover that His promises are uniquely and individually crafted for each of us. The Creator of the Universe loves each of us as though we were the only apple on the tree. Because of this love, God uses every moment and situation in our lives as an opportunity to form us into the disciples He has created us to be. Many times we see Him in the blessings of His creation that flow endlessly into our lives. However, it is during the difficult times that are filled with pain and sorrow where the greatest changes are possible. When we give ourselves over to His purifying love and look to the future glory that He has in store, then He will bring us to that place of good things that He has promised.