In Bible Study we recently studied about the “If Onlys” of life. How they can cause roots of anger and bitterness to grow if we aren’t careful. And it reminded me of a lesson the Lord taught me last year, as I read Psalm 107. I realized so clearly that, as followers of Jesus, we all have a choice of what we focus on…what we see most…in our pasts. You see, we are all sinners. We all make mistakes. Our parents did. Our children do. And every generation to come will as well. But one thing the Bible reminds us of, over and over (Deuteronomy is one place to look), is that we should share with our children and our children’s children, not only about the difficult things we have faced…but how the Lord brought us through them.
Psalm 107 mentions four groups of people, and while this is not exhaustive, it is a pretty good description of how many of us face the Lord and His word:
- The Wanderers– “Some wandered in the wilderness, lost and homeless. Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died.” (v.4-5)
- The Enslaved– “Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, imprisoned in iron chains of misery. They rebelled against the words of God, scorning the counsel of the Most High. (v.10-11)
- The Rebels– “Some were fools; they rebelled and suffered for their sins. They couldn’t stand the thought of food, and they were knocking on death’s door.” (v.17-18)
- The Seekers– “Some went off in ships, plying the trade routes of the world. Their ships tossed…the sailors cringed in terror…They reeled and staggered like drunkards and were at their wits end.” (v.23, 26-27)
You may see yourself as one of these people, or maybe not, but the amazing thing about all of them is that whatever experiences they had, whatever trials they went through, they all reached a point where they realized they couldn’t make it on their own:
"Lord, help!" they cried in their trouble, and He rescued/saved them from their distress." Psalm 107:6,13,19,28 NLT
So did he listen to them? I believe He did because after their cries:
- “He led them straight to safety…” (v7)
- “He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom…” (v14)
- “He snapped their chains.” (v14)
- “He sent out His word and healed them….” (v20)
- “He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves.” (v29)
And once the Lord came to their rescue, the Psalmist gave this directive, though we don’t know if they followed through:
"Let them praise the Lord for His great love and for the wonderful things He has done for them." Psalm 107:8,15,21,31 NLT
I understand that many of you might be thinking that the last thing you want to do is praise the Lord. That even though He may have helped your in a hard circumstance, you still have people you love who have been hurt, looked down upon, mistreated, or just plain overlooked. But y’all, the Lord hasn’t done those things. He has seen every wound, heard every cry, and felt every hurt that you feel. And because many of you may question why a good God would allow hard things if He really loves you, I have to share the ending:
"Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord." Psalm 107:43 NLT
Because without trials to be brought through….we wouldn’t recognize the faithful love we’ve been brought to, y’all.
Not long ago, I passed some sticks on the ground while I was walking. They caught my attention because they made an “X”. But as I looked back when I passed, I realized that from my new point of view, I saw a cross.
We all have a choice when we look back, yall. We can choose to see the wrongs and hold ourselves back from healing and joy and peace that only the Lord brings. Or we can grow in wisdom as we focus on what we learned…what we don’t want to repeat…on the healing, chain-breaking, door-opening, power of the Lord…and the faithful love that brought us through.
It’s our choice to make. Love you sweet friends-