"Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Bound in affliction and irons—
11 Because they rebelled against the words of God,
And despised the counsel of the Most High,
12 Therefore He brought down their heart with labor;
They fell down, and there was none to help.
13 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces.
15 Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!" Psalm 107:10-15
I've been stuck in Psalm 107 for the past day or so. I've been slowly making my way through the last section of the Psalms, and yesterday when I got to Psalm 107 I felt like I needed to stop there. I read it through a few times, and when I woke up this morning it was still on my mind, so I turned to it again. It's a wonderful chapter in the Bible to read when you need some encouragement, because it's loaded with examples of the goodness of God. I think I like the one I posted here the best because the people who are in trouble were in trouble because of wrong they did. It says they rebelled against the words of God, and yet when all was said and done, they cried out to God to save them, and He did. He did! Despite the error of their ways in the past, God stretched out His hand and brought them out of the darkness that had claimed them. God's goodness is amazing, and something to cling to when the need arises.
Often times, when we're in a season of trouble and worry, it's through no fault of our own, circumstances just happened to be that way. We're in a season of trying really hard to not worry about finances, and trusting that God will provide and meet all our needs. Part of how we're here again is through no fault of our own. Work that Andy was supposed to be doing until Christmas fell through because of the economic situation around us. But then there's the part of this season that is our fault. We could have done better at saving, at pinching pennies earlier in the year, and then this worry wouldn't be here. We've made mistakes, and in this era of self- scrutiny it is WAY too easy to look at the mistakes and completely blame ourselves for our troubles. The problem with doing that is then we look at the trouble we're in, know that we've caused it ourselves, and then we don't talk to God about it. We get into self-condemnation and decide that we deserve all the struggles we're dealing with because we did this to ourselves.
The world within us would agree with that. But we've got something better in there too. We've got Jesus. We who have asked Jesus into our lives and made Him a part of us also have the redemption that came with Him. Redemption for all and for every situation. Think about that- it's such a wonderful thought. One of the character traits of Jesus is redemption. He came to save us from sin and evil, and that is always with us- even when we stumble and fail. God is a very, very good Father- He knew from the beginning that He would have struggles, and so He sent His son to take those very struggles upon Himself and take them to the depths of hell for us, so that we would not have to go there. That's amazing and incredible!
And if we think along that line of thought for even a moment, we can realize that any wrong that we have done... well, it's as if it never happened, because Jesus took that away with Him before we were even a twinkle in our mother's eye. God provided a way out from our struggles before we even had them. When I have thoughts like that, I'm so thankful, because I need to cling to them sometimes. Sometimes I just need to pour out my heart to God and tell Him how sorry I am that I've failed again, and ask Him for mercy and for understanding. And every time I find myself marveling at His goodness.
Reading chapters in my Bible like Psalm 107 can be such a light in the darkness. As David says later on in Psalm 119, His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. It's such a beacon of light for my heart- it can keep me going, it can get me through just one more day, and fill me with such hope for the days to come. God's goodness gives me hope through the Words that He wrote all those years ago. I pray that you would know God's loving kindness today, tomorrow, and each and every day as we navigate this glorious Christmas season.
"Whoever is wise will observe these things,
And they will understand the loving kindness of the LORD." Psalm 107:43