I think the hardest part about writing this week will be picking which Psalm to write about each day. There are just so many great ones! After looking at lots of options I went back to my first choice for day 2 – Psalm 66. It begins like so many of the other psalms – with praise. “Shout with joy to God, all the earth!…Make his praise glorious! Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds’ ” (Psalm 66:1,3a) You can read or listen to the rest of this great Psalm here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2066.
Our God is a great God and so worthy of our praise. All the time. As the verse says – and the psalmist repeats later – His deeds are awesome! May I repeat that? HIS DEEDS ARE AWESOME!! But, have you ever been in a place where that was difficult to see? If you haven’t yet, you might find yourself there later. It is like looking at a picture of a beautiful sunrise on a gorgeous beach – with a 3-D microscope. There may be times when all that is in focus is a giant wave coming crashing down on top of you, or the tentacles of a poisonous jellyfish reaching toward you. Life can be scary! Life can be stressful! Life can be sorrowful! Life can be unfair! Especially when you are looking up-close at one moment, one day, one season in time.
I am sure the Israelites felt a lot of fear, stress and uncertainty as they were hemmed in with the Red Sea in front of them and the advancing army of Pharaoh closing the distance behind them. Praises probably weren’t the first to pop to mind. When Joseph was sentenced to prison for a crime he didn’t commit after being sold as a slave by his brothers he may have been seeing up close some very tough, unfair circumstances.
I love how this psalm says over and over again to praise God, and not because life is always easy and he pampers and shelters his children. No, this psalm includes several rough instances where God’s children were in tough spots – at the water’s edge, in prison, through fire and water, subjected to enemies. And, not only were they in the midst of these trials that God certainly allowed, but sometimes He even brought these trials upon His children – testing us, refining us.
But – the trial is NOT the big picture – but just one snapshot in time, one zoomed in macro image of the great big beautiful scene God is creating in our lives when we seek to follow Him. It’s like looking at this one somewhat gross looking image
instead of seeing the delicious fruit salad this strawberry can become.
Sometimes we need to take a step back and readjust our focus. Thank God for what He is doing in our lives, even through the painful trials. As the psalmist says after listing several suffering situations, “But you brought us to a place of abundance.” (Psalm 66:12).
Thank you, God, for your presence through the storms and for using them to better our lives. Better, not bitter. “How awesome are your deeds.” (Psalm 66:3a)
-God Bless – Marcia Railton