I’m very thankful to God for my wife, Jeni, who regularly spends time praying through and being shaped by God’s word. Here’s something she just wrote from her time with God yesterday. I hope it will be encouraging to you.
I’m so thankful for God’s Word and the ways God is teaching, challenging, encouraging, refreshing me through times in His presence. Here’s one little morsel that fed my soul this morning. First, the passage:
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
3 Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
5 Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
One phrase jumped out at me….who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion. I’ll explain why.
Do you know about the temperaments: sanguine, choleric, melancholy, phlegmatic? If you do, and you know my husband, you can tell Johnathan is a phlegmatic – easy-going, laid back, doesn’t get his feathers ruffled easily. Can I just say it’s VERY nice being married to him? He is a calming, steadying influence on me, the melancholy. Do you know what melancholies are like? Moody. Emotional. Extremely sensitive. Easily offended. Overly analytical. Lucky me!! We melancholies have our strong points, of course, but battle to not let emotions rule us.
I’m sure, no matter the temperament, many people struggle with discouragement, depression, and downright despair. I’ve had my days, more than I care to admit. What happens on those days? Brooding has begun. Motivation dwindles. Joylessness ensues. The radiance fades from the eyes, the shoulders droop, the chin sags down into the chest. Picture that person in your mind – hunched over, eyes down.
Now insert into that picture the truth that God crowns us with lovingkindness and compassion. The Christian who is hunched over in negativity and discouragement has forgotten the truth that she is crowned with the love and compassion of God! (Maybe that’s why in verse 2 we are commanded to “forget not all His benefits.”) A Christian living by the truth that God has crowned her with His love and care is going to hold her head high and walk tall, like the royal, beloved daughter of the King that she is.
Now this is where the analogy falls short: When a Christian is overcome in sorrow, hunched over in discouragement, it seems like that crown will slip off her head and go crashing to the floor! However, that is not the case! God’s love and compassion will never leave me! Romans 8:35 says nothing can separate me from His love. His lovingkindness never ceases, and His compassion never comes to an end (Lamentations 3).
This is a great and precious promise. God is using it to shape me to look more and more like Jesus. When my eyes are on the brokenness of this world, I need to lift up my gaze to the One who is crowned with glory and honor. He willingly bore a crown of thorns so He could crown me with love and compassion.
I pray that truth helps you hold your head high today!