Broken in the journey. Purged clean in the fire. Not easy words to cozy up to when you’re following God with all your heart and your world collapses, and Psalm 66 reminds me that life isn’t perfect, but God still is with me. I waver. I falter. I hang by a thread of faith, but God is not deterred, and He does not leave me alone. He’s there – with me in the silence, in the broken, in the fire-storm.
My heart rumbles with the agony of missed dreams, treacherous roads, disappointment, dried up opportunity, and the reality of living on this earth. There is still a song of grateful praise deep in my soul. I don’t always sing it or speak it, but it’s there – on the cusp.
This Psalm reminds me to give voice to the faithfulness of God no matter what. And it strikes me today to praise God, to sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. He’s with me through all the trials of life.
There is sometimes this desire to throw all that faith away – to walk away in disgust. The fiery trial seems too much to bear – the pain intolerable. At just the right time – a breakthrough – a song that moves the gaze upward to heaven.
I think of heroes of the faith like: Moses, Nehemiah, David, Stephen, Peter, Daniel, Hannah, and Mary who kept walking faithfully despite the pain (of heart, soul, or even bodily affliction). There was a greater reward, but not all of them saw the fruit of the promise. Still – they walked with God. These words echo loudly to me: “For you, God, tested us;
you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance” (NKJV 944).
What God allows sometimes makes no earthly sense to us. He allows it, and yet we question. I think He’s okay with our questions. He can handle it. When we “tough” it out with Him, even if our faith is threadbare, we reap an abundant fulfillment that defies human explanation.
There is something soul calming when the Psalmist says, “but you brought us to a place of abundance” (NKJV ). God keeps his promise to never leave us nor forsake us. He doesn’t necessarily keep us from experiencing life, but He is faithful as He was so many men and women in the bible. He brings us to a new place of abundance – not just financial. He opens our eyes to see His goodness in ways we never have seen them.
I think of that word (abundance), and my mind goes to how much more faith I have to believe and hold nearer to God after walking through a difficult season. I think of the songs He’s written upon my heart, the revelation of His Fathering me, the intimate whispers of shelter and belonging in the dark nights, and of His hand pressed firmly upon my elbow – Selah.
I pause. I think calmly. Surely God has been with me. Surely God is with me as He was with men and women of faith in ages past. He has not changed. God, who is bigger than my imagination, has NOT changed. His faithfulness didn’t shrivel up and die with our faith-heroes. God’s faithfulness didn’t end at the cross. His faithfulness didn’t end when my doubt nearly overtook my belief. God’s faithfulness didn’t end when all hell broke loose in my life.
In fact, in those moments, God’s faithfulness multiplied. He steadied my feet. He took my right hand (and sometimes literally). He held my heart and soul together. He sang a song over me in the night – a refrain my ears recalled. He birthed a joy that isn’t fleeting from the place of sorrow. He cleared my stuffy ears to hear more clearly His Voice – “I’m with you, daughter.” Words this child needed to hear.
The Shepherd of my soul walks with me in the night, in the valley, in the shadow, in the distance, in the wilderness, in the barren place. When I can no longer walk, His word carries me – brings me to His benevolent love and grace. That place is a chronicle of His Story traveling the lines, and stops, and pauses, and erasures, and spaces of my life; and these become my testimony. These moments become my story of His glory. How could I not praise this God who lifted me and “who has not turned away my prayer or nor His mercy from me” (NKJV 944)? He has made dry places flow with water and lavished me, you, and all of us with loving kindness.
What the world may see as tatters as been made a beautiful tapestry in the hands of God. The world will come and see His glory-story written upon each of our lives. Will our words speak praise, or will our words hush His good works?
My prayer after reading this Psalm is that we remember the goodness of God from Genesis to Revelation. Those redemptions stories point to a God who will always remain semper fidelis (always faithful) even when our lives are falling apart. They are stories worth telling and testifying.
May the song of praise rise from our lips, from a whisper to a roar, from the cusp to the surface, from broken to breakthrough, from victim to victor, and from silent to boldly declaring.
NKJV Study Bible. Radmacher, gen ed. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997.
Linking up with Stephanie Spencer for Psalms Journey this week. Come join the reflections and discussions.