I’d like to encourage people today, although I don’t know exactly who or in what way. Does your head hurt? Did you sleep poorly last night? Have you gotten bad news lately? Are you feeling stale? Numb? Anxious? Maybe I want to encourage you.
Go read Psalm 103. You don’t have to be someone who has a religion – it’s literature, a book that’s been around a long time and is easily accessible. Just read it.
What if there is a God and that is an accurate picture of him? What if there is some “pit” he wants to pull you out of? What if he does want to satisfy the desires you have to be loved and valued? You could jump on that train of thought, just for a few minutes and see how it feels. I’ve memorized this chapter because I so often need to hear what it says.
I’m getting pretty aware of the things that are wrong with me. When I hear a writer describing a distance “as far as the east is from the west”, and he’s telling me that’s how far away all my wrongness is going… I get the impression that someone has a plan to deal with bad stuff, mine and everyone else’s. Thinking along those lines gives me hope. Hope is important.
Here is the most hopeful part of the reading for me – the part where “he knows how we are made, that we are dust, earthly”. I do kind of add my own translations as I think more and more about it. To me, it says “I know how I made you – different from anyone else. I know exactly what you are capable of and I don’t expect any more from you than that.” That’s the way I want to be known. It encourages me to think that God and I might be on the same track in that regard.
The writer of this psalm felt that even when God knew him completely, he still loved him in a way described as “from everlasting to everlasting”. I’m a writer, and I can’t think of a way to top that. When I rehearse this psalm in my mind, I always think I want to be know that way and loved that way. It would make me happy, encouraged, hopeful. It’s a place to start.
Sure, there are some qualifiers in there, referring to those people who are known and loved. Again, as a writer, I’m paying attention to the verbs throughout the whole chapter. “Rescues”, “satisfies”, “works righteousness and justice”, “made known his ways” – all things that God does and is doing instead of things I have to do. I think the writer is saying that God is willing and able to work with people, to bring them to where they love him back, want to keep his covenant and remember to obey him.
It encourages me because it’s a good deal. It’s better than finding an honest used car salesman, or whatever analogy you want to use. There’s more in that chapter and maybe there are other parts that will seem important to you, if you read it. Try it on. See what it makes you feel and want. And consider that it is meant to encourage you.