“Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, you his servants; praise the name of the LORD. Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised (Psalm 113:1-3).”
Eight hours of oral history will be aired this week.: the reflections of Jackie Kennedy in the 1960s.
She discusses the stress her husband John F. Kennedy endured in the crises he faced. She told her interviewer:
“Once I asked him — I think this is rather touching — if he could have one wish, what would it be? In other words, you know, looking back on his life, and he said, ‘I wish I had more good times.’ ”
Life does seem to go from one crisis to another. When a new day begins, we are hoping it is a better day.
Sometimes our days are good, but life tends to be more struggle than not, at least for most I think. It is for me at least.
If you are not facing difficult circumstances or people, you still have to deal with yourself. You have to wrestle with your thoughts.
These thoughts can produce emotions such as fear, anxiety, worry, and anger. When you feel like this, it’s not nice to be you. Life is just full of stress.
When I got up this morning, I asked myself what I had to look forward to except work. I really didn’t have an answer to that question.
I am watching a series about my hometown, the city of Baltimore, at the moment. It depicts the daily lives of African Americans in the tough neighborhoods of that town.
Their lives are filled with poverty, drugs, crime and murder. The gangsters run things.
School is like a combat zone. In once scene, on the first day of school the white female principal does the sign of the cross as the doors are about to be open to all the kids on the first day of school. She is like a soldier going into combat.
One teacher tells an ex-policeman, who is in the school to assist with some research on juvenile offenders, what the week is like for the kids.
She says that Wednesday is the best day in the school. This is when the children are farthest away from what is happening at home.
Mondays and Fridays they are angry. Tuesdays and Thursdays are just avenues to the other days. It seems that the situation for these young people is hopeless.
In the midst of the chaos, one ex-gangbanger who spent 14 years in prison is trying to help. He has against all odds begun a boxing club for the boys. His contribution, while admirable, is a drop in the bucket in alleviating the daily pain of these children.
As I thought about my own day ahead, I did the smart thing and turned to the Scriptures. God had an answer to my question about what I had to look forward to.
How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the LORD’s praise,
for he has been good to me (Psalm 13:1-6).
After reading this, I followed the Psalmist. I went to You Tube and found some songs of praise to lighten my heart.
Here are the lyrics of the most meaningful song I heard:
Father in heaven, how we love You
We lift Your name in all the earth
May Your kingdom be established in our praises
As Your people declare Your mighty works
Bless be the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
Bless be the Lord God Almighty
Who reigns forever more
It occurred to me that what I had to look forward to this day was God. He is to come. He’s my future.
My future isn’t the difficult people or circumstances I might deal with today. The future is God.
It is the chance to go through the rest of the day singing His praises. When I am walking down the hall at work, I might not do it audibly, but I can still do it in my heart.
What impresses me about David, the shepherd king, is that he always factored God into the equation in his life. He did it constantly when he was being chased by his nemesis King Saul.
In one situation, David had the chance to kill Saul. The current king has walked into a cave where David and his men were hiding.
David’s men told him, “Here’s your chance” and even invoked God and his provision into their urgings. David did slice off part of Saul’s robe, but then he was struck with guilt.
David saw he had taken matters into his own hands. When he took a minute to think, he reminded himself and his men that Saul was still the king who had been anointed by God.
David relented and let Saul go. When he confronted Saul out in the open, David told the king that he would leave judgment to God:
“Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Who are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea? May the LORD be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.” (I Samuel 24:14,15).
To David, his life and his future was in God’s hands, not Saul’s. More than that, God was his future.
Whatever kingdom David was going inherit was to be God’s kingdom. David saw himself as a flea on the Big Dog.
As I stride off to the office, it’s a good thing to remember: What I have to look forward to this day is God.
Let the good times roll!