(November 25, 2014)
Two thoughts through this – one specific to these chapters and one more generally. These chapters were certainly focused on the idea of gratitude, and the longer I go in life the more I realize how important gratitude is. We read in the scriptures about some who turn towards the Lord and some who turn away even though they are in the same set of external circumstances. I cannot speak for them, but in my experience one differentiation in my own life between these two responses has been gratitude. If I am grateful for my trials – even if I consider them as having been ‘caused’ by the actions of someone else – and I express that gratitude to the Lord for this sorrow, then I find my trials and suffering draw me closer to Him.
I think it is a matter of faith. When I think in my pride that I am suffering because of someone else (or even my own mistakes), then I am denying the perfect plan of God. After all, He numbers the stars and knows them by name (and the better our understanding of astronomy, the more amazing that truth is). He knows that someone is going to cut me off in traffic, or that I will get lost on the way to my appointment. To say that the Lord’s plan is not capable of both encompassing these events and turning them to my good is to lack faith in the power of God. No matter what suffering I go through, whether something silly like the two things I mentioned just above or something serious and significant, that same suffering can and will be a benefit to my soul (proportional – or even greater – to the level of suffering), but only if I remember and have faith to turn to the Father and thank Him for it. I have felt the sting of betrayal pulled and peace returned to my soul (and growth begin again) when I have brought myself to sincerely thank the Lord for awful pain and the blessing of going through trials.
And that leads to the more general comment – I am sad to see the end of Psalms.
through them at this difficult time in my life, there are a number of points
that I have been moved to tears as I read (including today). Before I looked to the Psalms for
proof-texting or to find doctrinal nuggets or similar things. This time, I opened my heart to the passion
and praise and gratitude and anguish of the Psalms and I began to
understand them for the first time. I
wonder, now, what my reaction to them will be when I reread them in about two
years from now.