[reprinted from August 23, 2010]
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 (NIV)
While this is a very familiar psalm, most of us have probably sang a song from this psalm, have you ever taken the time to read the verse in context with the rest of Psalm 118? The psalmist is speaking a paraphrase of Jobâ€™s words that though the LORD slay me â€“ I will hope in Him (Job 13:15). It is a choice to receive what God has given for the day and be glad that He has given me the day!
It may be a difficult concept to consider that God has control over the good and the evil of this world. When I think of the events on September 11, 2001 or the death of my son on September 22, 2004, I want to say that satan caused those awful, painful things to happen. And, in truth, this is satanâ€™s playground where he twists and spreads his evil, destructive seeds. But God is Creator of all and so has power over all, and so it must be that He does ultimately have the choke chain around satan! In Job we see that God allows satan to torment Job. God does not allow satan to kill him. God has the control. So what happened on 9/11? Did God get distracted and miss that satanic mischief and so could not stop it? Was God on vacation in the summer of 2004 and so did not get the message that James needed to be healed?
It may sound clichÃ© to some but Godâ€™s ways (His sight, His understanding, His plans, His love, His judgment, His mercy) is not the same as mine. It may seem trite but it is true. My way of seeing events and seeing the fairness of this world cannot be compared to infinite God who holds oceans in His hand! There may have been a dozen other planes headed for other major cities that did not happen on that September 11th morning. There may be bombs, nuclear or â€˜dirtyâ€™, that fail every week, because God hauls back on the choke chain and says, â€œNo!â€ It may have been in satanâ€™s mind to execute some horrible, painful, heinous death on James and God said, â€œNo!â€ I donâ€™t know.
As I was reading Psalm 118 (please take the time to do so today!), I was slipping some notes of my own life into the verses of the psalm. It is so easy to list the many difficulties and situations that cause worry. What if instead I got up in the morning and said, â€œToday is the day You created, Lord. I know You are here with me now. Walk with me through the day, Lord, and direct my steps, my words, and my thoughts.â€ And every night when I lay down I say, â€œThank You, Lord, for the dayâ€ and list the blessings and, yes, the difficulties of the day, putting them in Godâ€™s hand (thereâ€™s room even with the oceans!) for His care and plan.
Peter said to give all my cares to God because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). He also said that God isnâ€™t slow to keep His promises (2 Peter 3:9). But Peter said a lot more. He said that there would be suffering in my life just as Jesus suffered but there is also the promise of glory just as Jesus is glorified (1 Peter 4). He said that God is patient because He doesnâ€™t want anyone to perish but to repent and receive His promise of eternal life (2 Peter 3).
Our LORD has our days in that hand of His. It is our choice on what we do with it. God gave us choice. I will rejoice and I will be glad in this day!