• The Explore the Bible lesson for July 30 focuses on Psalm 146:1-10.
It was a painful story to hear. Sitting across the table from an old friend, he told how his parents never once expressed any love or affection for him. From his early teens, he had to work to support himself even though he still lived at home. His parents expected him to turn over part of his income to pay for his room and board.
As soon as he was able, he left home and struck out on his own. In early adulthood, he accepted Christ as his personal Savior. From that time on, although no one would have blamed him for being bitter, he served God with his whole being, personally and professionally.
The pain of his parents’ rejection still was very real to him, even though it was decades ago. However, one thing changed his life. Although his parents had abandoned him, he discovered, through Christ, that God would remain faithful to him forever.
Great is Thy Faithfulness
The psalmist had discovered that same faithfulness. He starts his psalm with nothing less than a song of praise: “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long.”
My friend had two options, as we all do. We can start the day complaining about those who have abused or abandoned us. Or, we can start each day with words of praise to our ever-faithful God. Which of the two we choose will set the trajectory for that day and all our days.
If we place our ultimate faith in any one person, we will be disappointed and certainly misled one way or another. Those who place their faith in God will not be disappointed ultimately.
Each election season, each party nominates a candidate they believe to be the deliverance of the nation. Yet history proves what the Psalmist knew and declared millennia ago: “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish” (vv. 3-4).
The primary reason others disappoint us is because we assign too much power to them to make our lives more meaningful or to always take our side. However, the person who trusts God for what God alone can do will not ultimately come to despair. “Happy are those whose help is in the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God” (v. 5).
None of this means life will not break our hearts from time to time. It does mean, in the end, God will seek out and heal all whose hearts are broken. “The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down” (vv. 7-8). For that alone, God deserves our daily praise.
In high school, I participated in a speech contest and won two or three of the first events on the way to the state championship. The next contest was held some 100 miles from our hometown. At the last minute, my father was given a job assignment that was going to prevent him from attending the contest. We all were very disappointed.
Yet when I stood to give my speech, I saw my father walk into the auditorium and find a seat near my mother. I didn’t win that day. What I’ve never forgotten is that, overcoming all odds, my father found a way and showed up.
Good fathers and mothers do that. They show up even when it looks impossible for them to do so. So does our Heavenly Father. “The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow” (v. 9).
As certainly as God has made the heavens, the stars and the oceans and the mountains, God has also remained faithful to his children. No matter how far we may ever wander, we can count on God to come and find us. No matter what, God always will show up.
We can only imagine how our lives would change if we began each day with these simple words: “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!”
Glen Schmucker is a hospice chaplain in Fort Worth.