by Chris Courtney
There are certain, open-ended questions we should never ask.
Never ask someone, “How are you doing?” All you do is open the door for a potentially insincere (if not entirely honest) “Ok”. Ask instead a more direct questions (How are things at work? How is your mom? How’s your health? How have the [insert name of favorite sports team here] let you down this season?)
Never ask “Where is your faith?” Seriously. Never ever. It’s a slap in the face of a struggling believer.
And never ask, “How was your day?” Unless you want to open the floodgates of complaining and grumbling (“It was awful! The boss yelled at me. My husband complained about the Egg-and-Dairy-Free Tofu Kale Omelet I made for dinner. My youngest drew a moustache on his sister’s face while she was sleeing – with a black permanent marker, which doesn’t even match her blonde hair. And the cat destroyed my Bobby Goldsboro album [don’t even ask me how!]”)
And so on.
As with most things in life, there are two views: our skewed perception, and the right view.
You see, God’s goodness bathes our lives with His grace, hope, love and mercy at all times. Even when we can’t feel it.
When we can’t see it.
When we can’t perceive it.
When we question whether He hears our prayers, or stays with us, or even cares.
Let’s look at the 103rd Psalm:
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;[a]
he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul! – Psalm 103 [ESV]
As believers, we are each the recipient of many, many great and wonderful blessings from our Heavenly Father. Shall we count our many blessings? According to to the above Psalm of David:
- We are forgiven of all our sins – our transgressions removed from us “as far as the east is from the west”
- We are healed of all our ailments
- We are redeemed from the hell sin provides, and given new life with Him
- We are “crowned” with God’s never bending, never ending love and mercy
- We are fulfilled by His goodness and revitalized
- We are the beneficiaries of His justice and righteousness
- We are blessed by God Who made His ways known to His people
- We are the recipients of amazing grace and mercy from God Who chooses to be “slow to anger” rather than wrathful (a wrath we deserve through our sin, but are forgiven through His “steadfast love”)
- We are treated with compassion by our Lord – just as a father has compassion for his children
- We are known – in astoundingly minute detail – by our Father God Who created us. Think about that one for just a moment. God knows your weaknesses. He knows your gifts. He knows everything about you. He has placed you in His great plan.
- We are given eternal life through Him (through Jesus) – “from everlasting to everlasting”. We are rescued from the brevity and pain of life ib this material world.
- All of this is the loving, gracious, merciful gift of God Who is Lord over all.
David and many of the Old Testament saints figured out the secret to life. Are you ready? Here it is:
You have to take it on faith.
You have to take God at His Word.
You have to trust that what He promises will come to pass.
And, understand this:
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. – Hebrews 11:13-16 [ESV]
This world is not what’s important. It isn’t where our hearts should yearn for. This place isn’t home.
It just isn’t.
I know not every illness gets healed on this earth. I also know God can heal any disease. He can also work through us to exemplify His grace, mercy and love to others.
Despite what we perceive, we need to keep our eyes on the prize, as Paul says. Keep believing. But keep a heavenly perspective. It’s like my beautiful wife Jennifer likes to remind me when I’m feeling hopeless or down: will what’s got you bugged matter in a week? A month? A year? A decade? Most likely not.
Please know this: God is always with you. He will work through those who love Him. He will bring great things to pass. We just have to keep faith, worship and praise the God Who so loves us and fills us. Count your many blessings.
Name them one by one.
And see what God has done.
He lights your darkest path.
He fills your every longing.
Just look for Him.
See that our daily troubles and cares and worries are nothing compared to the greatness of our Father in Heaven. Sometimes we just have to ask: what is important? What does God treasure?
Now… knowing all this, let me ask you again. How was your day?
(c) 2019 by Chris Courtney. All rights reserved.
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You are loved far more than you can imagine, by God Who is far bigger than we can fathom.