How are you doing with finding rest for your mind & soul? Are you killing it or are you barely surviving?
Well…I am barely surviving. The combination of work and some personal items are stretching me, and some days I feel like Gumby. Other days, I am drinking in the goodness God has for me.
I am finding this series to be stretching and growing me unlike other series I have done, and I think this is good. It is causing me to pause for a few minutes and think about what it means to rest my mind and soul.
Frankly, I have my good days and not-so-good days, and that is okay. I hope God is working on you like He is working on me. My encouragement to you is to keep looking heavenward, and listening for that still small voice in your spirit.
At the beginning of our Rest for Your Mind & Soul series, we learned how silence can be deafening, and many times we would rather the noise drown out the silence so we don’t have to deal with the silence.
In the second week, we learned it was okay to hit pause and catch our breath by resting in meadows and resting beside the calm waters. Resting is okay because it prepares us for what is coming next.
And last week, we pondered whether we were treating God like our cosmic vending machine. What happens when our heart's desire collides with the reality of our situation? Sometimes good things happen, and other times heartbreak occurs.
Many times, we just keep feeding the “cosmic vending machine” our money in hopes that God will kick out the result we want versus the plan He has for us.
This week, I want to share a few verses from Psalm 118. The psalm opens and closes with the same phrase,
“'Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” – Psalm 118:1 & 29
When was the last time you gave thanks to God for something? Did He help your workday go well? Did He send a reminder of His love to you?
What was it?
Thanksgiving can be tough when you are experiencing heartache, heartbreak, struggles, or something else. Our hearts want to move towards frustration and anger, but what it needs is to pause and give thanks to God for something.
Your prayer could be as simple as…
Thank you that I woke up this morning.
Thank you for getting me through the day.
When we stop and pause, we take a few seconds to move the focus from us or our struggles and give it to God. Giving thanks can be difficult to say, but it can do wonders for our troubled souls.
Help Is On The Way
When you are hurting do you feel like God has abandoned you or do you feel like He is in your corner?
Psalm 118:5-6 says,
“In my distress I prayed to the Lord , and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?“1
The God of the universe loves you, cares for you, sees you when you are hurting, and He wants you to know, that you are not alone.
When you cry out for God, do you feel like He ignores you or doesn’t have time for you? I have found that He answers me, but not the way I expected or even wanted.
Psalm 118:7-8 reminds us,
“Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people.”2
Many times our faith is put in people when we should be putting in God. When we feel like our prayers go unanswered, our faith is shaken. When our life turns out differently than we imagined, our faith is shaken.
But…there is hope. The Lord is our refuge and strength.
Psalm 118:14 says,
“The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.”3
It reminds us that the Lord is our strength, and He has already given us the victory. I love the next part of Psalm 118, it says in verse 17,
“I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done.”4
It proclaims our testimony – “I will live to tell what Lord has done”. I have friends who have beat cancer or recovering from a serious illness or an accident to shout from the rooftops about what God has done for them.
Others may experience the exact opposite, but in both situations, our testimony can speak to a God who hears. For some, that testimony, comes years after an event or after death has taken a loved one from us.
The truth for those who believe in Jesus is death is a promotion to Heaven. There is no more suffering, hurt, pain, or unmet expectations – there is only a restored body and spirit with no more pain and suffering.
We close the book just as we opened it, with a reminder to give thanks. Psalm 118:29 says,
“Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.”5
Let me ask you…what can you give thanks for today? What do you need to give thanks for today?
God may give you something specific or you sense in your spirit that you need to thank Him for something, even if your heart is weak, troubled, exhausted, or fearful.
If you are restless or running from something, I want to encourage you to stop and pause for a brief moment and thank God for something or someone.
You never know how this simple act of thankfulness could lift your spirit today.
Lord, thank you for the gift of Psalm 118 and for showing us how much you love us and care for us. Please nudge us today to pause for a moment and offer thanks for what you are doing in us, through us, and around us. Most of all, we thank you for your love and grace in our lives. Amen!