It’s easier to see what God hasn’t given us than what He has.

In the core of our beings we have deep-felt longings.  Longings so profound that they rattle us to the core when they are not fulfilled.  Think of the woman who cannot get pregnant no matter what she does or the young man who has high functioning Asperger’s and cannot emotionally connect or socially relate, but longs desperately for a wife (taken from a real life situation I know).  Whatever the circumstance, these profound soul longings become wrestlings with God. He has the power to change things, so why doesn’t He?  He has done miracles for so many others, these longings are normal and good, why can’t He do the same for me?

And slowly our eyes focus on the pain of what we don’t have.  It doesn’t take long for the hard things we don’t have to eclipse the ability to see the things we do have.

Praise the Lord, my soul,

and forget not all his benefits—

This life is very messy.  It’s a mystery why some people grow up, get married and have a good marriage, have kids, those kids group up fairly decent, they have jobs that at least they enjoy, grandkids come along, etc…  But what about the parent whose only son or daughter was killed in a car wreck?  Or whose marriage turned into a nightmare?  Or whose job is something to hate every single day but attempts to change haven’t happened?  These are real things.  Painful things.  Horrible things that redefine a person’s life.  But can there be joy even in this?

Some “positive thinkers” would proclaim to ignore your pain and look only at the good things.  Others would say “look at this negative thing and feel your pain.”  I’m thinking that maybe we should have both–the ability to look at the good things of God and still acknowledge that there is pain.  It’s when we have pain and acknowledge it yet still see the goodness of God in our lives, and trust Him still, that faith is most powerfully expressed.

Forget not all his benefits,” the Psalmist says.

He had to remind us to remember because when we hurt it’s easy to forget.

It’s easy for me to forget.  It’s easy that my prayers all my life have focused on asking God to fill that “longing” that is “normal” and “healthy” and that 95% of the rest of humanity enjoys but I do not.  This, instead of prayers filled with regular, overflowing thankfulness that I’ve been raised in a good country with many freedoms, plenty of food, and a beautiful place.   That I’ve got to travel much of the US, live in special places, and travel the world.  That he has given many good friends with which to enjoy life.  So many good things.

Forget not all his benefits,” the Psalmist says.  This life is short but I also have the gift of knowing that I’m forgiven, that he has provided healing, he has redeemed me and crowned me with love, and has blessed me with many desires of the heart.

Praise the Lord, my soul;

all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord, my soul,

and forget not all his benefits—

who forgives all your sins

and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit

and crowns you with love and compassion

who satisfies your desires with good things

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.