January is way past, February is under way, and March will soon be marching! We’re rapidly climbing the slopes of 2019, moving along–whether plodding, dancing, or marching, we’re moving. It’s very important for a marcher to be facing forward. No solider marches while looking over his shoulder. No band member keeps in step while looking behind. But, though we need to focus on the future, and be ready for change, we also need to “Forget not all His benefits…”
Psalm 103:2 (KJV) says: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
The psalmist goes on to mention several benefits, namely the forgiveness of sins, healing, redemption from destruction, and the crowning with loving kindness and tender mercies. He then mentions that the Lord satisfies one’s mouth with good things so that one’s youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
These are huge benefits. When you start a new job you want to know what your benefits are. Do you have health insurance, do you get a paid vacation, do you have sick leave days, is there a chance for bonuses? But the benefits from God Almighty are not related to a job. They are related to the life of one whose Father “owns the cattle on a thousand hills.”
Thinking back over 2018 I can recognize having received each one of these benefits.
Forgiveness of sins was a day by day benefit. I didn’t rob a bank or beat my husband. I didn’t murder anyone, steal costly diamonds, or run away with the mailman. But I didn’t do everything I could to alleviate suffering and sorrowing, I didn’t always lean on the Lord for understanding, and I was selfish and inconsiderate. I said no when I should have said yes and yes when I should have said no. Day by day the Lord forgave me. And all that is on top of the huge forgiveness He washed me with years ago when I asked to be His child.
Healing? Oh, yes, I’ve experienced that. After a very disturbing bout with atrial fibrillation, my heart is now behaving pretty normally. Doctors, nurses, medication, a C-pap for controlling sleep apnea, all helped. But I know Who really was behind it all. I’m also aware that many with diseases have not been healed–yet. Some have only been healed by going on to Glory. But His healing is timely and on His terms.
Then concerning redemption from destruction I can thank God for a safe haven during Hurricane Michael and for saving Charles and me by only a few feet from ending up under our falling giant red oak. I’m thankful, too, for strangers who helped Charles yank me through a closing door of a London train. But beyond that, I’m so thankful for my Redeemer Who saves me from certain destruction in hell, allowing me instead to look forward to the glories of heaven.
Those first benefits I’d class as really necessary–forgiveness, healing, redemption. The next two are wonderful extras. They’re like thick butter on your bread with brown sugar too, or the beauty of colors instead of gray and black, or sunshine after a week of cloudy days. I’m talking about loving kindness and mercies, not just sprinkled sparingly, but crowning us–overwhelming blessings! Like, for us, exploring Grand Canyon with our children and grandchildren, or grilling hamburgers with friends, or enjoying a beautiful sunset, or discovering a rosebud about to open. Family reunions, surprise mail, a hug, a cardinal on a gray twig–wonderful benefits! And mercies? Wow! How many wrecks have we barely avoided? From how many tight spots rescued? How many times did a guardian angel hover over us? Were we kept from saying what we really didn’t want to say, were we comforted in sorrow, were we given second chances? Yea, and many more!
Plus, there were the times when we or our loved ones were not rescued from harm, for whatever reason. But God was there too.
And the final benefit mentioned in this psalm is that “He satisfies our mouths with good things.” Now that could mean crunchy fried chicken, chocolate cake, or a messy hotdog on the Fourth of July. Or it could mean hot yeast rolls with butter or a New York strip steak, or bacon and eggs after a tramp in the woods. Or it could be anything extraordinarily wonderful, maybe just knowing you’re loved and wanted.
“So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s…”
Now, wait a minute–I turned 76, my dermatologist declared those ugly brown blemishes as “experience spots,” I’m having trouble putting my socks on, and we were automatically given good seats on a tourist bus where a sign read, “Yield to senior citizens and mothers with small children.” I don’t think we’re getting our youth back, certainly not to fly like an eagle, not that I ever could do that!
But now there’s this. I’ve never been happier. I love my husband of 53 years. We flew to Europe together. We laugh at the simplest things. We know how to have a good time better now than we ever did.
And we’re promised heaven!
So we’re marching–but forgetting not His benefits.