by Maria Rudolph
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Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you (Psalm 116:7).
Have you ever been stuck in an absolute pickle? A situation so hopeless there seemed no easy way out? Once I decided to go for a five-hour hike on a 40-degree day in a remote national park with barely any shade and didn’t think it was necessary to take water. God blessed me with a wise friend that day and, somehow, we both survived the hike on the contents of her 1.5-litre bottle. Can you think of a dire situation in your own life?
Jonah prayed when he was swallowed up by a big fish:
In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord’ (Jonah 2:2,7,9).
His words are so similar to what we read in Psalm 116 today! It’s a reoccurring, often repeated story in many parts of the Bible: God is faithful, the people rebel against God or don’t think they need him, God is still faithful, people break away from God more and more until they get into terrible calamity, and God’s faithfulness sees them through to the end, even if they inflict all kinds of bruises on themselves in the process.
If only we could put our trust in God in the first place. That’s easier said than done, isn’t it? Jesus says to not worry about the next day because this day has enough worries of itself (Matthew 6:34). And we are reminded to cast all our anxiety on him because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Yet, we worry, fret, doubt and question the foundations of our lives and faith over and over again. This is why we have so many repetitions in the Bible of what we are hearing in Psalm 116 today, important reminders of the hope we have. We need them today, tomorrow and the next day. Rest assured, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. And be sure that the Lord works for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).
Loving God, I bring before you all my worries and all my concerns. I place them at the foot of your cross, knowing I can entrust my today and tomorrow into your hands because they are yours anyway. You are the Good Shepherd who looks after each sheep, leading and guiding me through life for the glory of your name. Help me focus only on you and your goodness today and offer myself as your vessel to do with as you please. In Jesus’ name. Amen.