Provocative Devotion: Psalm 9

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
    I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
    I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:1-2

It is so easy to forget or even fail to recognize the wonderful things the Lord does. So often we turn to God in frustration or disappointment when events do not turn out the way we want. Be expect God to take control of those situations and make them right according to our definition. It is in those times of hardship, pain. loneliness, sickness, or tragedy that we think God should do something. But when things are going well, when life is good, blessed, or simply free from undue hardship, we seldom give thought to the fact that God has His hands on those times too. I know I often live as if such times are how it should be, that given free rein the course of life should be a fairly smooth path with few bumps along the way. I, and many others as well, only look for God to step in when the path gets rocky or perilous.

David reminds me of something important here. God is always engaged in our lives. There are countless wonderful deeds that the Lord has performed in my life that I discount everyday. Why? Because I am not focusing on the Lord with my whole heart. Jesus said that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. If I did that I am certain that I would he overwhelmed with the flood of reasons to give thanks and praise God every moment of everyday. I would give praise to God for each person I have the chance to encounter because they are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. I would praise God for the gift of His Word for He speaks to me through it of things that are marvelous to behold. I would delight in the ordinary, in things like grocery shopping, washing the car, or making breakfast because all of these things are gifts from God, the stuff of life that is to be lived in His presence.

In those times when I have been able to more consistently see God in the ordinary and everyday and give Hims thanks for those things, I have found that it is far easier to see Him in the hard times. It only makes sense really. If I am not able to see the wonderful deeds of God in the blessings He provides everyday, how can I expect to see Him in the dark times when life is hard? If I cannot see His hand in the so-called good times, then how can I see His hand working for good in the so-called bad times? I must recount the goodness of God, the amazing things He has done for me my entire life. I must let those things remind me of God, assure me of His love, give me eyes to see His hand at work. Then I will be able to see His goodness even in the hard times and even in the hard times I may yet be able to praise Him, exult Him among the nations, declare to the world that God is good, all the time.

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