Reading: Psalm 116: 1-4 and 12-19
Verse 12: How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me?
The psalmist begins by declaring his love for God because God heard his voice. Because of God turning His ear to him, the psalmist commits to call on the Lord as long as he lives. If only we were so steadfast in our relationship with God. Sometimes we are more likely to coast in our relationship with God and then to ramp it up when trial or suffering set in on us.
I began my working career as a teacher. I soon added ‘coach’ to my titles. Shortly thereafter I added middle school Sunday school teacher. That was the beginning of a long transition in my life. Eventually I taught high school Sunday school and that led to working with the youth program. God continued to work on my heart. Almost seven years ago I left coaching and went to work serving part time as the youth director at my church. Almost five years ago I left teaching and became a pastor. God blessed my path in life and opened many doors for me. This is one story. While it is all true, it is not the whole story.
Eleven years and nine years ago I applied for the youth director’s job. Twice I was not selected as the church hired someone else. Rejection is always hard. But perseverance is part of who I am. And God’s call helped me to continue to be a part of the youths’ lives, He kept me engaged. Those four years were a part of shaping me, a part of preparing me to do the job when God decided I was ready. God’s timing is excellent. It is perfect.
The first part of my story tells how God was at work in my life, slowly drawing me in. The second part involves some trial and a little suffering, but it too is an essential part of my story. Like the psalmist, I too must ask, “How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me”? The first response is to tell my story of what God has done in my life. The second is to do what the psalmist did: praise the Lord! What is your God story? How can you tell it? And what is your responsive praise to God?