In 2020 when the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I faced my first season of trial and wilderness in my Christian walk. I had been saved for two years at that point and was flourishing in all areas of my life, especially in my faith. Since I live alone, during the required quarantine period I was isolated from everyone, but most importantly, I was isolated from community and fellowship. At that time, I experienced waves of anxiety, depressive thoughts, and delayed grief as my mom had passed away a year prior. During that period the enemy’s voice was so loud in my head that the truth grew very dim.
By the grace of God, I had learned in my first two years as a Christian the importance of the spiritual disciplines, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I used the tool of meditation to remind myself of the hope I have and the reasons I have to rejoice in Christ. I memorized Psalm 103:2-5 as a weapon to fight the voices in my head, and the Word kept my faith alive during a season of constant spiritual warfare and dryness.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:2-5).
This Psalm shows us the many reasons we have to praise the Lord, and these reasons were exactly what I needed to focus on during my trial.
In Psalm 103, David reminds himself and all believers of the advantages of serving the one true God. This is also a much needed reminder for us today. It is good for our souls to meditate on how, by Christ’s sacrifice, we have access to the same advantages David had. And we receive these advantages not based on anything we do or deserve but solely based on God’s act of kindness toward us.
The more clearly I see my sin, the more I taste the sweet gift of forgiveness. We are sinful beings who violate God’s commands and deserve the wrath of God, but Jesus drank the cup of wrath we deserve so we could be forgiven and united to God the Father. By Jesus’ finished work on the cross, we have been forgiven of our past, present, and future sins. What a gift, what a benefit, what an advantage we have in just believing in Jesus and trusting him to remove the stain of our sins. We have a great savior!
Let’s help each other remember God’s benefits. We have a gracious God who didn’t even spare his one and only Son but sent him as a ransom for us so we could receive the benefits of being children of God. This is our God, and he is worthy of all praise. In times of trial when our eyes are blurred with sin and self-absorption, we can look to Christ and what he has done for us and find plenty of reasons to rejoice and praise him.
And let’s help one another meditate on the riches of God’s Word. God will meet us in his Word as we press in and wait on him. So, wait on the Lord. Press into his Word. And give thanks for all he shows you and all he is.