March 28, 2012
I chose to meditate on Psalm 103 as I prepared to lead worship last Sunday. I was introducing a song, 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman. I’ve been looking forward to doing this song with our congregation for a long time. It was lifted right out of this precious Psalm. Little did I know that it would take me to a place of wrestling with the Lord, a faith confrontation that would result in a greater strength and assurance of that faith. I began reading through the Psalm that encourages my soul to bless (or praise) the Lord. The way that David chooses to praise to Lord is by remembering and declaring his benefits. “He forgives all your sins, he heals all your diseases…” At that moment, I stopped reading and the wrestling began. Did David have to say that God heals all our diseases? I guess so because the Holy Spirit inspired it. (2 Peter 1:20) A friend had just lost his mother to a short battle with cancer a few weeks ago. Many prayed for healing. And I doubted for the moment that God would heal the disease, possibly cancer yet undiagnosed, that had just been detected a day earlier in my friend’s son. Deep down inside, I know that any promise of healing is according to God’s will and in his timing. Yet, in this situation, my heart was screaming, “NOW, please, God!” What was a doubt on the surface really had a firm foundation underneath and I recognized that God certainly had the power to heal, and in the eternal scheme of things, he does heal all of our diseases. I confessed this in faith to the Lord and continued on, anticipating singing this song on Sunday, but not sure how I would introduce it.
As I sat with my worship team in the Prayer Room on Sunday morning, praying before our 1st Service, I read through the Psalm again. I voiced my struggle and was graciously reminded by my friends of what I knew deep down inside, that God’s promises are eternal, not always immediate. Then I noticed the theme of the Psalm was cast in the eternal nature of God and his creation. How high are the heavens above the earth? Scientists and their highest-powered telescopes have not seen the end of it yet. That’s how great the Lord’s loyal love is for those who fear him. How far is the east from the west? Again, infinity. That’s how far God removes our sins from us. “But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,” (Psalms 103:17 ESV) Yes, this Psalm is anchored in the eternal nature of our Everlasting God. Why am I so locked into the ‘now?’ I need a bigger perspective and yes, a bigger faith.
Gary’s sermon on Sunday confirmed what God was trying to say to me that morning. Please check it out if you missed it,The Death Conquerer. When Jesus received word that his friend Lazarus was ill, it says, “he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” (John 11:6 ESV) Later he tells his disciples, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”” (John 11:14–16 ESV) I think his disciples and his friends Mary and Martha were all expecting Jesus to do what he usually did, heal the sick, but Jesus had something much more extraordinary in mind, raising the dead. It was aligned with his purposes, his timing, displaying his power and glory so that many would believe. You see, the Lord’s everlasting love is not just for me or my family and friends – it is for the whole world. We never get to see the big picture, but God does and he always acts with that in mind.