July 12, 2016

Psalm 89:1 I will sing of the Lord’s great love for ever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.

At first glance this Psalm seems out of place in a series on the theme of prayer, but the last part of it, from verse 38 on, is something of an accusation of desertion and a request that God come through on His promises. That said, the praise and worship of the first part of the Psalm are justly well known and loved. This first verse has been set to music a number of times and is a very admirable faith declaration, especially for times when circumstances seem less than ideal. It is when things don’t look good around us that our words and our music become a “sacrifice” of praise. (Hebrews 13:15) It’s easy to sing praise songs and get happy when things are going the way we would like, but not nearly so easy when they aren’t! That’s why it’s significant that this verse speaks of God’s love and faithfulness. (The Japanese says “grace/blessings and faithfulness.) Those are God’s unchanging qualities, and we must never forget that, especially when things around us seem to be in a whirlwind of change. It is interestingly true that when our faith wavers, declaring our faith out loud is one of the most effective ways of strengthening it. Paul said that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:17) That is true even we are the ones speaking out what we are hearing! That’s why it’s so important to acknowledge circumstances but still declare that God is greater than those circumstances.

I just had a somewhat intense practicum in this very point. After taking my wife to see her cardiologist for a regular appointment, I started feeling stranger and stranger in my abdomen and decided I needed to go see my urologist. On the way there I had a sudden taste of salty saliva, which is often a precursor to nausea, and I was thankful his office wasn’t far. As he was doing a sonogram of my bladder, etc., I suddenly had to call for a basin, and over the course of the visit it became very clear exactly what I had eaten for breakfast. The trigger was the intensity of my pain, because the tests confirmed that I had a uretral calculus (kidney stone). After an injection and with other medications in hand I drove home, (which wasn’t the wisest course, but the Lord got me home safely) canceled all my appointments for the day, and went to bed. I won’t go into further details, but I am extremely relieved that I don’t have symptoms this morning! The thing is, while I was lying in bed hoping for the pain meds to kick in, I was letting praise songs run through my mind. “O Lord, You have been good; You have been faithful to all generations.” The pain I was experiencing didn’t cancel God’s faithfulness. This is something I have been learning to do more and more over the years, and it is certainly the best way I know to get through anything. All we experience on this earth is essentially momentary, however long and drawn out it might feel to us in the middle of it. God’s love and faithfulness are absolute and eternal, and we need to remember that.

Father thank You for the past 24 hours, though they weren’t fun at the time. Help me not take others’ difficulties lightly, but still point them to You and remind them of Who and what You are, so that they may not wallow in their pain but receive the blessings You intend for them, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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3 Responses to July 12, 2016

  1. dawnlizjones says:

    Such a good and timely reminder for me right now! Hope you are feeling so much better!

    • jgarrott says:

      Things aren’t completely back to normal, but I’m about to head out to three hours of teaching at Nagasaki Rehabilitation College, and my nursing school class from Monday has been rescheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Plus, I have a minor photo show that starts today! Prayers are certainly appreciated.

  2. Wally Fry says:

    Great Devotional as usual.

    Kidney stone. Been there done that. Worst paid I ever felt. I still have the pain pills the doctor gave me. I have told my wife that if it happens again, I am taking them all, so she has to drive really fast to get me there before the pain pills kill me LOL. Just sayin.

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