Psalm 116:7, 12 “Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me?”
Observation: The whole of Psalm 116 celebrates the Lord’s deliverance from death. Verse 3 remembers, “The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me.” Then come the familiar words of verse 15: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” But from every cranny of the Psalm flows an overriding sense of the pure, unadulterated victory that’s given to those who call upon the Lord for deliverance, culminating with verse 12’s question: “How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me?”
Application: I was praying this morning about yesterday’s letter from a friend who has just received diagnosis of an untreatable cancer. In considering before the Lord how to pray and how to respond to his report I was struck by the magnitude of his willingness to once again turn to God in full confidence of His capacity to deliver, and His faithfulness to do so in every situation.
Having walked together for a while, I’ve had a glimpse of the deep work the Lord has done in my friend’s heart over his seventy-plus years. He and Jesus have walked together through dark valleys, through places of pain and hurt that have seemed at times overwhelming. Yet through each of those difficult places, he has submitted to the humbling disciplines of the Lord. While his day-to-day struggle has surely seemed overwhelming at times, its fruit, not just for my friend but for those of us watching, has been profound. Because he has not just accepted but pressed firm into the full disciplines of Christ, he has become a human bird dog, pointing straight to the heart of the King. In yielding to hard disciplines in the past, he has drilled down deep into Jesus, leaving himself in the same place as Paul who could say in 1 Cor. 4, “Therefore I urge you to imitate me.”
I wonder: All those years ago when the cusp of discipline loomed, did the enemy darkly whisper that his spiritual usefulness was at an end? Nothing could have been further from the truth. Having yielded to the molding of a loving Potter, my friend has pointed the way to Christ as an unwavering beacon. What the enemy intended for destruction a long time ago has produced immeasurable good. Now comes a medical challenge of Gordian difficulty yet my friend’s testimony mirrors that of the Psalmist who said in verse 1, “I love the Lord, for He has heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy.” I wonder too…how faithful a pointer am I to those watching me?
Prayer: Father In the crucible of life’s most crushing circumstances, the way of escape is always and only through You. In losing my life, I have entered into the fulness of Your life. In cooperating with Your disciplines, You have given promise of a wonderful future. Thank You for my friend who unwaveringly points to You as the only way of escape. Honor and bless him, Lord. Heal him in Jesus’ name.