Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Healthy Mind, Body and Soul Journey 4/3/12

Psalm 98
Two summers ago I challenged myself to read all 150 Psalms and I thoroughly enjoyed reading each one.  The Psalms are so beautifully poetic, and such an encouragement to me. They so clearly illustrate man's struggle with life. One Psalm will be full of praise in a victory, and the next one might rail at the world that seems unfair, still another will speak of the mighty power of God, who helps us through all the trials life throws at us. I simply loved reading these passages every day and feeling so connected with mankind as a whole, and with my Father God as well. I know that everything that I am going through has already been experienced, by countless people who have come before me. I also know that my God is greater than all my challenges, and I praise his name for that.

Psalm 98 is the one I wanted to talk about today. It is all about praising our God for who he is. The first verse says: Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. That is what I intend to do today - praise my God..  Even though, when I woke up this morning praise was not the first thing on my mind, I'm going to switch the praise on now. I often need a reminder (okay, maybe a brick tot he head) to praise God in all circumstances, as we Christians are challenged to in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-28, a passage that, as a matter of fact goes right along the same course as this Psalm and fits in neatly with what I need to learn.

God has done marvelous things for me, and is working in me daily.  I know this to be true for me, but praising him in all circumstances is not my long suit, not by a long shot. His refinement is rarely pleasant for me to endure. It is painful to be molded into the shape that God intended me to be. It is hot, sweating, pounding work and some days I just don't feel up to the challenge, much less do I want to praise him for it. However, just when I feel I can't bend any more, or take the heat any longer, something miraculous happens.  God reaches out his right hand and takes my hand in his own and pulls me out of the fire, and pours his cooling water of life over my hot and throbbing soul. It is refreshment like no other.

Yes, God has allowed challenges in my life,  I'd say He's often the one lighting the fire. How else would I be able to transform into the instrument he has in mind for me? I suppose some of his children are able to be shaped and refined in a less painful manner; he does meet us each where we are and teaches us in our own way. I often wish I were one of those people who took things in stride and just kept on praising God. I'm not one of those people, though, and trial by fire-- this is the way God knows I will shape up, after all, He's the one who made me, he ought to know how to refine me in a way that works for me.  That's how I see it. I praise him for his infinite wisdom and even more for his grace. He has demonstrated both to me in equal measure over the past couple of years in my life, particularly the last one as I have struggled with difficulty after difficulty.  I know he's refining me. I hope I can learn the lessons he is teaching me. As his child I want nothing more in life than to make my Abba (daddy) proud.