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The Wonder of It All!
"Bless the Lord, oh my soul "*
Yeah! I hear you.
"And all that is within me bless His holy name."
"Bless the Lord, oh my soul "
I heard you the first time.
"And forget not all his benefits."
Sorry, no time, no energy!
Ever felt like that? For professors at Liberty and all schools with a May graduation it's a familiar battle. I can remember feeling brain and spirit fried about now. So much to do in so little time!
I have faced students as projects rolled due and exams hovered on the horizon, who were trying to think of praises for the Lord at my prodding. I told you about their blank expressions as though they'd never heard the word before.
And I have fought that same lethargy, but I learned that is was something I had to fight because praise is such an important weapon in our spiritual battles.
King David used two "alls" in these verses from Psalm 103. Paul Fink, friend, colleague and pastor, has an all-inclusive definition of the word: "All is all that's all all is!" It doesn't miss a thing.
The two "alls" in these verses crack our knuckles: "all that is within me" and "all his benefits." Demanding as it is when I was watching the plasma drip very slowly into Jim's veins so his blood would thicken before the heart catherization, it was what I needed to do. When I am the most weary, the most distressed, the most befuddled, or the most angry, the best medicine for me is to discipline myself to change focus.
"Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name." "Bless the Lord...and forget not all His benefits."
Those words remind me that no matter how small my world seems in the confines of a hospital room, that is not the beginning and end of my life. So what do I think about?
I thank the Lord Jim is alive and the prognosis is good even though it is long and drawn out thickening the blood and then thinning it again.
I thank Him for our caring children and grandchildren who rally around us.
I thank Him for the far-flung family members and all the friends who are praying for us.
I thank Him for the wonderful doctors and the staffs of the emergency room, the progressive care, and coronary care units for the wonderful expertise and their caring spirits.
I could go on, but the greatest praise beyond God's presence with us is the health of our marriage. I can't imagine what it would be like to go into this or any other crisis separated in spirit from Jim.
"Bless the Lord, oh my soul..." then David gives us a list of five things. Finally, he adds two very important words: "so that..." So that what?
So that God can use me better?
So that God can get more out of me?
So that He gets some benefit from it?
How like us to bring God down to our level.
So that "my youth is renewed like the eagle's." That's what David wrote. This is all for my benefit!
"Youth?" I could ask in astonishment. I'm no spring chicken!
This is one of my favorite phenomenon so I repeat it; it is a physical fact that eagles have their "youth" renewed when they molt. And so can we.
Why else would Isaiah write: "Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they (no age discrimination here!) that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint."**
At those lowest ebbs of my physical energy, there is an uplift from the Spirit of God, which renews my "youth."
My part is to get my eyes off my feet and wait on the Lord instead of insisting on counting on my own strength and my fired brain and spirit.
In our Bible study this week,*** Beth Moore talked about Paul's unflagging passion for the Lord no matter what happened to Him.**** She listed six reason, and the one that lifted my heart the most was the wonder that He felt in the reality of the way the Lord had taken Him the chief of all sinners***** saved him in his 20s, and allowed him to serve Him for the rest of his life.
"Oh, the wonder of it all, the wonder of it all, Just to know that Jesus loves me!"******
That's the crowning jewel of all the benefits. If I start with that, I'll be refreshed in body, brain, and spirit!
* Psalm 103:1-5
** Isaiah 40:31
*** Moore, Beth. To Live Is Christ: The Life and Ministry of Paul, "A Sharp Memory," pp. 202-205. Nashville, Tennessee: LifeWay Press, 1997.
**** "I have learned in whatsoever state I am there with to be content." (Philippians 4:11)
***** I Timothy 1:15
For Further Consideration
I Timothy 1:12-17