This morning I checked my e-mail and learned that Mike Casey of Pepperdine University passed away last night after a battle with cancer. Mike and Judy were here in Waco for a year while he did some special work at Baylor University. He was a young guy who leaves behind a wife and son.
Then there are other situations, relationships, etc. for which I am in prayer. Those with cancer. A man from our church seriously injured after a motorcycle accident.
Sunday morning we prayed for the parents and other family members of a 49-year-old man who is dealing with some rough days in our legal system. Two Sundays prior to this one, we prayed for the family of a city employee who was murdered earlier in the year.
It all gets to be overwhelming. One people situation alone can seem to take up most of the space in my brain and heart. Yet, there are so many other situations that are just as real to whatever family members might be involved.
Then, there is the incredible goodness that is everywhere. I thank God for each moment of enjoyment, believing that this is a taste of his grace. A cool fall day. The taste of good coffee. A smile from a person with whom you are doing business. The singing of birds as they land near a feeder. Seeing someone open a door for another. On and on.
The other day, I was reading a page from John Goldingay’s commentary on Psalms (Volume 1: Psalms 1-41). Specifically, I was reading his notes on Psalm 41:13.
"Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting, Amen and Amen."
Goldingay believes that this verse is not actually a part of the psalm but is an act of praise at the end of book I. He says that this statement invites readers to pause and reflect on what we have learned about "the eternal God of Israel." In other words, we do not just study Scripture, but we also worship and affirm this God.
Maybe that is how we need to look at our day. Regardless of what happens from our birth to our death, we praise God. We praise him from birth to death and from everlasting to everlasting.
Maybe life hasn’t quite turned out as you expected. Or, maybe it has actually turned out better than you expected. Regardless, we praise God.
As you think about your life, ministry, and the situations that you have experienced, both bad and good, what can you praise God for?