I try to read the Bible every day. And most days my time spent in scripture is uplifting and instructive. Today was not one of those days. You see, I’ve been stressed. Not only is this a crazy time of year for pastors, but this was the week my wife returned to work after her maternity leave. Throw on top of that the four calls this morning from people in need, the member in the hospital, the funeral service yesterday, “family stuff”, and the mountain of administrative tasks I should have had done last week and you’re left with one pooped and pathetic pastor. In my exhaustion I opened the Bible and this is what I read…
This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24).
You might think that reading that verse would cheer me up or change my perspective but all I could think was: Really?! You made this day? This day – with all of its stress and sickness? This day – where people are hungry and tired? This day – when its 40 degrees and gray? You made this day?
But then I kept reading. Turns out this Psalm was written by a guy who was distressed and exhausted. He was in battle, confined to a narrow space, with enemies all around him. He writes, “I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me… The Lord is God and he has given us light.” (Read Psalm 118)
Which got me thinking… If a guy who is surrounded by people trying to kill him can rejoice in a day that the Lord has made, well, shouldn’t a pastor sitting behind a cluttered desk rejoice too? We are so blessed that even in a broken and sinful world God is still with us- creating, redeeming, feeding, and loving giving us reasons to rejoice.
When your life gets crazy, when you’re pooped and pathetic, when nothing seems to be going right read Psalm 118. Be reminded that God is with you all the time – in pain, in frustration, even in death. And that this day (whichever day that is) is really just another opportunity to give thanks to God. And because God is with us always, we steal the words of the Psalmist,
“You are my God and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God and I will praise you.
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
his steadfast love endures forever.”