Today’s passage in the Psalms seemed tailor made for me. It reminded me about the best way to rise above my circumstances when they feel difficult:
I will praise God’s name in song
and glorify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the Lord more than an ox,
more than a bull with its horns and hooves.
The poor will see and be glad —
you who seek God, may your hearts live!
The Lord hears the needy
and does not despise his captive people.
Psalm 69: 29-33 (NIV)
Praise and thanksgiving
Praise and thanksgiving are sacrificial acts when we are in pain. But the sacrifice pays off, leading to salvation.
Praise and thanksgiving tell both God and our hearts that despite evidence to the contrary, His plan is Good. He knows what He is doing. He cares enough even to bring us to desperation.
Praise and thanksgiving lift the eyes of our hearts from the ground to the sky. And though we may still not understand what God is up to, we somehow know it is good (like chocolate!). The cross tells us so.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve moved from anger about our family’s “afflictions” (sometimes anger at God, sometimes at me, sometimes at those around me) to cynicism to begrudging thanks (Ok. Ok. I will say I am thankful because I know I should, but my heart’s not there yet) to that sense of hope (once more) that somehow God is working all of this for our good: that we may know and love Him more deeply.
A seeking heart
Which leads to verse 32 – “You who seek God, may your hearts live!”
I have been seeking Him, more this year than the last few. And my heart is beginning to live again. I am once more reminded of Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
He will hear and not despise
And finally, “the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his captive people.” We are all spiritually needy and enslaved to sinful patterns of the flesh.
God hears! He will free us.
Even if it takes difficulties to do so.
Which goes back to Praise and Thanks.
Today’s Readings: 1 Kings 17:1-18:46, Psalm 69:29-36, Proverbs 17:27-28, John 13:21-38. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).