(A psalm by David for the dedication of the temple.)
A Prayer of Thanks
30 I will praise you, Lord! You saved me from the grave and kept my enemies from celebrating my death. 2 I prayed to you, Lord God, and you healed me, 3 saving me from death and the grave.
4 Your faithful people, Lord, will praise you with songs and honor your holy name. 5 Your anger lasts a little while, but your kindness lasts for a lifetime. At night we may cry, but when morning comes we will celebrate.
6 I was carefree and thought, “I’ll never be shaken!” 7 You, Lord, were my friend, and you made me strong as a mighty mountain. But when you hid your face, I was crushed.
8 I prayed to you, Lord, and in my prayer I said, 9 “What good will it do you if I am in the grave? Once I have turned to dust, how can I praise you or tell how loyal you are? 10 Have pity, Lord! Help!”
11 You have turned my sorrow into joyful dancing. No longer am I sad and wearing sackcloth. 12 I thank you from my heart, and I will never stop singing your praises, my Lord and my God.
There’s something about the Christmas break that gives you chance to take stock. Being out of the regular routine and the turning of another new year cause us to think back – and forward. Where have we been, and where would we like to go?
I don’t know about you, but I like to have a route all planned out – especially a route through life. What’s going to happen, when and how – and I get quite fidgety (ok grumpy!) if it’s not working out.
Henri Nouwen talks about surrendering ourselves to the future, not as a loss of autonomy, but as an act of openness and maturity. For if you are dead set on one path, who knows what you may miss if you don’t take a different way that opens up.
I guess we all get to a point when we think the best days of our lives are over and it’s downhill all the way. Nouwen reminds us,
The most important part of our lives may still be ahead of us
So, do we live our lives looking for what God is going to do with us, where he’s going to lead us? Are we open to what he’s going to do?
We all have things in life that influence us. It may be family traditions, peer group behaviour, things we read and hear in the media, local customs, people we look up to, or any number of things – or a combination.
Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him.
It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, it should be done in God’s ways, we are called to please him. It matters not what our neighbours, our friends, even people at church think of what we do – what really matters is what God thinks.