Isn’t it interesting that when we start writing our thankful-list around this time of year, the physical gifts of the flesh seem to make it to the top? “Thank you for my health; thank you for my wealth; thank you for my happiness.” These things are indeed reasons to thank our generous Giver; but I think God also waits with hopeful anticipation to hear thankful praises sung to Him of another kind.
I will explain with a picture and a passage. The passage is Psalm 103:1-5, and the picture is of two girls from Haiti 10 days after the earthquake shook their country in 2009. My husband Mac had to amputate their legs in order to save their lives. (When viewing the photo, please avoid “being thankful” that you are physically not these two girls; my point will be just the opposite. These girls have something deeper to teach us…about spiritual wholeness in the midst of physical brokenness.) Now listen to the psalmist sing and the picture speak:
Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits. (Notice this passage is about the “soul”, not the “body.”)
…Who pardons all your iniquities and heals all your diseases. (Just as the earthquake came in and crushed these girls’ legs physically, sin came in and poisoned us spiritually. BUT, just as Mac compassionately severed the spread of the deadly gangrene, our Savior also lovingly stopped the flow of sin’s crimson stain.)
…Who redeems your life from the pit; who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion. (Just as these two sweet girls were picked up from the rubble and ashes of a natural catastrophe and their wounds were wrapped with bandages of healing, our hearts, too, were gracefully grabbed from the domain of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of His beloved Son. Col. 1:13)
…Who satisfies your years with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagles. (The girl on the left would have died in the night if Mac had not gotten to her first; this picture was taken the next day–no fever, no sign of infection. We too, are on our spiritual deathbed until the Lord comes and breathes His Spirit, into our spirit, which sets us upright and full of Life!)
So let us praise Him for His lifetime benefits this Thanksgiving. May these benefits–“fits of goodness from above”– be on the top of our list every morning. The paradox is that these intangible gifts are the only ones we can really hold onto. The single minded focus of tangible blessings have the propensity to become a deep disappoint for those who have them, and a mere mirage for those who don’t.
Let His forgiveness, His redemption, and His good Spirit sink deep into your heart, and then…bless the Lord; with all that is within you, bless His holy name.