One of the things I did in 2016 was read through the Psalms.
This isn’t something one usually looks back at as a great accomplishment for the year, but for me it was. A goal for the year is more often to read the entire bible. However I started 2016 in a jumble of emotions, and I needed a safe place for them, and a place I would hear some of those same emotions acknowledged. Psalms was my place to turn to. I also needed a new way to work through the bible.
Not only did I want to change how I approached the word of God, taking one chapter at a time and really soaking it in; but it gave me the space to notice the rhythms and rituals a man after God’s heart experienced.
One of the biggest that struck me was how over and over David remembered (and recounted) God’s goodness, his deliverance, his faithfulness. And sometimes it wasn’t just personal rememberings, but public proclaimings.
As I walked through the bulk of 2016 I was recalling on faith and experiences of months, years, even a decade plus ago. I reminded myself of how He had shown up, and how He will keep showing up, even when it feels like I’ve been abandoned. Thankfully I’m in a “spring/summer” sort of season right now where I can see so many ways God has moved and shown up and been there and was faithful in my faithlessness. I have dozens of ways I can pull from to recount his goodness at the moment. But just months ago it felt like I was trudging through mud to recount His good deeds. But it’s also what kept me going. Even when it felt like He wasn’t near or moving or working, I remembered.
There are lots of phrases circling the interwebs right now like “free people free people”, or “hurting people, hurt people”. I believe with all of my heart that if you’ve really truly experienced God show up for you in your life, even just once, just like David did over and over in the Psalms you will proclaim God’s faithfulness. It’s the cause and effect. If we are after God’s heart, we remember what He did when He didn’t have to. We recall what He has done, and what He will do. And we keep going, and run the race.
I got the sweetest thank you note at the beginning of the year thanking me for being willing to talk about Jesus in the middle of a busy baseball park, and how it had been a defining moment for a family. While I teared up at the kindness of the note, my heart kind of clicked… Of course this is what we do! We have seen, and heard, and experienced His goodness, how could we not shout it from the rooftops!
If you’re starting 2017 with a heavy heart or trudging through the mud, may I encourage you to turn to Psalms? Start with one chapter a day and notice the rhythms and routines David has throughout. Hear his laments and praises. May we recount the Lords faithfulness and good deeds each day, just as the authors of Psalm have.
“I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.” Psalm 40:10
“I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.” Psalm 52:8-9
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you…You have kept count of my tossing, put my tears in a bottle. Are they not in your book?…In God whose word I praise, in the Lord whose word I praise, in God I trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:3, 8, 11
“But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress: Psalm 59:16
“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8
“Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him! Let all the upright in heart exult!” Psalm 64:10
“You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will revive me again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.” Psalm 71:20-21
“We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.” Psalm 75:1
“We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done….that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God” Psalm 78: 4, 6-7