Reading: Psalm 85: 1-2 and 8-9
Verse Nine: Surely His salvation is near for those who fear Him, that His glory may dwell in our land”.
Today’s Psalm opens by remembering when God showed favor to His people when He restored Jacob and established the twelve tribes of Israel. The second verse recalls how God has forgiven the people over and over. Even this early in their collective history, the people have plenty of experience with the cycle of sin and God’s forgiveness. The psalmist looks back over the history of the people’s relationship with God to remind them of God’s loving and active presence with them. Sometimes, in a tough moment, all we can do is remember when God has been there for us in the past and cling to the hope and promise that God will be present again in a mighty and powerful way.
A few years ago, I was part of a high school mission trip to Seattle. On our last ferry ride back across Puget Sound, as we were beginning the long trek home, God became present. One of the ship’s crew had suddenly passed away and his only ‘family’ in the area was the crew of the ship. The outward and inward bound ferries stopped beside each other in the middle of the Sound and the captain of our ship led a brief memorial service and tossed a wreath into the water. As we stood in silence, a few of our youth chose to “listen to what God the Lord will say” and they began to sing “Amazing Grace”. Everyone joined in and it was a very sacred moment. It was a powerful experience of God’s presence in our lives and of His love for us all. We returned to the top deck where we had been worshiping and shortly the captain appeared. He shared that he believed that God had placed us on that exact ship that very day to remind him of God’s love and care for us all, his dear friend included. As we departed the ship a while later, a still teary-eyed captain again thanked us for the reminder of God’s love and care for us all.
Just as recalling God’s activity with Jacob and God’s abundant grace throughout their history strengthened the Israelites, so do our ferry moments remind us of times when God has shown up and they strengthen our faith and encourage us in our moments of trial.When have you experienced God in a powerful and meaningful way? Remember these times today and be grateful.