Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Anchor of Praise

I recently spoke at UNC-CH's InterVarsity chapter, and I was feeling really heavy inside. I wasn't sure how to pull my mind from its funk and sadness in order to be present to the students there and to be able to give the message God had laid on my heart. A good friend prayed for me, and in his prayer he asked God to help me remember that it wasn't my job to fix any of the people I was broken over and it wasn't my job to make the world right. As God would have it, that theme repeated itself throughout the night as the student leadership reminded us during worship and during prayer and during testimonies that our role as Christ-followers is not to fix people but to love them. Now, certainly loving people doesn't mean always agreeing with them, rubber-stamping all that they do. But it does mean accepting them, receiving them as they are, and longing for God to be the transforming center of their lives. There's great freedom in realizing I don't have to be in charge.

As I prayed in back on my own, I tried to find the words of Psalm 93 in my Bible, but I had it in my head that they were from Psalm 103. Turns out, that was a fortuitous mistake - what a joy to read this Psalm in The Message translation and to rest not only in God's power as King, but in His intimate goodness as my shepherd and savior. Whether anyone else knows it or not, my God is a wonderfully good God. He offers healing and pardon, redemption and freedom. He is a God of justice, working for the good of those who are down. He is compassionate and gracious to me – He doesn't treat me as a slave who sins but as a son that He loves. In fact, He doesn't define me by my sins (nor does He remember them) but instead defines me by His love and His work on the cross. God knows the weariness of my soul, the fleeting nature of life here on earth, and He has compassion on me in all my frailty. God offers such blessing and life to those who will receive not only His love but also His leadership, and He leads us to do what we were created to do – give Him praise and glory.

As we worshipped that night, I couldn't help but think, "Why would anyone walk away from this love? Why would anyone choose a life unsubmitted to this loving Father? Even if you didn't believe in a god at all, wouldn't there be a part of you that wished He were true and real, if He were really this wonderful?"

And I go back to the opening lines of Psalm 103 – Praise the Lord, o my soul; al my inmost being praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, o my soul and forget not all His benefits. In all things, at all times, praise the Lord and do not forget His goodness.

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