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A grateful heart

Psalm 138 is a song of thanks – God has answered prayer. Repeatedly, God shows His faithful love. He is great and high, yet He cares for mere men and women. The psalmist has a continuing story to tell of God’s protective care for individuals. The psalms are prayers for every mood we might be in and welcome us where we are at; at the same time helping us to draw closer to the Lord.

In the first three verses of Psalm 138, written by King David, he vows to praise God publicly for answering his prayers. However, we do not know how ‘long’ David had to pray for his prayer requests. A ‘day’ in Scripture doesn’t mean 24 hours, as we interpret a day. It is trust in God that even though we do not ‘see’ results, our belief in God remains steadfast. I have found reading the psalms a great comfort and support. These prayers help us overcome anxiety because it puts us in touch with God, who is completely trustworthy.

Through all our caretaking tasks, we can feel disheartened at how long it takes to have prayers answered, yet our hope is being strengthened each moment, as we fix our eyes on the Lord. I found these words of Lewis B. Smedes, “My God and I,” inspiring, “Gratitude is the pleasure of hope come true. Hope is the pain of gratitude postponed. Hope comes harder, sometimes with our back against the wall, laden with doubts that what we hope for will ever come. Gratitude always feels good, as close to joy as any feeling can get. Hope can feel unbearable; when we passionately long for what we do not have and it is taking too long to come, we are as restless as a farmer waiting for rain.” Are gratitude and hope prevailing in your life?’

Psalm 139:7, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? From Your presence where can I flee? When you read these words, how do you feel? Our feeling depends a lot on our image of God. If you picture God as a mean judge marking down your failings, then you probably feel uneasy. However, if you view God as a loving mother or father, then you probably feel comforted. S.Joan Chittister says, “It is the ‘kind’ of God in which we choose to believe that makes a difference. How we imagine God, colors all we do in the name of God. It is a valuable reflection to ask ourselves - Who is the God you believe in?

Psalm 34 begins that the psalmist (the pray-er) has received God’s help and now tells other people so they might join in thanksgiving and praise (verses 2-5.) When God answers our prayers, do we describe what God has done for us or just go on asking for more?

In praise and gratitude, this prayer is answered, Lord, yet in my humanity, I know I will be asking for ‘more.’ I believe You used the waiting time to strengthen our family in Your love. May Your guidance and love deliver us from every fear, as we exalt Your name.

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