READINGOld Testament: Jeremiah 3:6-18
Psalms: Psalms 72
New Testament: Romans 1:28-2:11
Gospel: John 5:1-18
Evening Psalms: Psalms 119:73-96
“Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.” (Psalm 119:73-74)
The past two years have been the most challenging and difficult of my life-- unemployment, health issues, and personal troubles. They have also been among the most enlightening. Today’s reading from Psalm 119 reflects many of my thoughts and feelings throughout that time. As with other rough times, and I’ve certainly had my share, I could cope with them relatively well -- individually; but combined, they were chipping away at my self-worth, well-being, and faith in God. You may have heard the saying, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” I believe that it should say, “That which does not kill us helps God make us stronger.” That was my experience.
I struggled during that time. I struggled to be a faithful servant to God, family, and friends. But putting my trust in God gave me the hope I needed to continue on the path He prepared for me. God led me through this maze of negatives with His faithfulness, His compassion, and His love. I saw God’s faithfulness through the encouragement and optimism of my friends in Christ.
They gave me the strength to endure countless days of rejection and disappointment when job searching. The compassion of the Lord was shown to me through my Saint Matthew’s family. They did all they could, and then some, by providing me opportunities to use my gifts to work and serve as the Lord would have me do. (No idle hands for the devil’s workshop.) And it was through my family that I heard His comforting words and felt His unfailing love. Staying on that path, trusting in God, and letting Him lead me through that maze, I was blessed beyond what I deserved. I was able to see the nature of God in and through those around me.
I cannot imagine going through the trials of the past two years alone. Today’s reading in Psalm 119 is a reminder to me that God’s Word, faith, family, and friends are heavenly blessings to be cherished each and every day. Thanks Be to God. All honor and glory belongs “To Him.” Amen.