from Veronica Amundson
Reading: Psalm 126, Isaiah 43: 1-7, Philippians 2:19-24
The next three days of our Lenten devotional will be done by me, Veronica. I’m super excited about it because all three days have Psalm 126 as our psalm and two of the days include Isaiah 43 which I’ve claimed as my life verses! Tomorrow we’ll dig into Isaiah 43 but for today we’ll focus in on Psalm 126.
When I read Psalm 126 I picture a family gathered together and sharing stories of their life as a family. I think of family meals in our house when Anne is home from college and Heather is in town for the holidays. How I love the times when everyone is gathered together around the table and we spend hours reminiscing about all of the adventures we’ve had and the stories we’ve shared.
When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed.
We’ve spent endless hours around our dining table having conversations that begin with “Remember the time...”
“Remember the time…we were at Mt Rushmore and saw the helicopter filming National Treasure?”
“Remember the time…we took the boat to Catalina Island?”
“Remember the time…we stayed at Disney World until 4 in the morning?”
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.
“…the youth group knew the words to every Veggie Tales song?”
“…the fog bank rolled in when we were in the boat with Aunt Anne and we couldn’t see anything?”
“…Jed had a staring contest with his fish?”
“…Jed and Heather hid so well during Hide & Seek that we never found them?”
“…Jed made himself a breakfast of left over birthday cake and a gallon of milk?”
(You may have noticed that Jed is a central character in many of our favorite stories!)
Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad.’
We sit around the table and we join families throughout the ages in recounting our history. We are a happy family. A family that has been blessed. A family that has had triumphs and success.
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
I so want the psalm to end right there. I find it easy to trust God and sing His praises when everyone is safe and we are all together, healthy, happy, and at peace. But the psalmist goes somewhere I didn’t expect…
Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negev.
This isn’t a family who is basking in abundance. This is a family who is struggling. A family who has experienced loss – who is experiencing loss even as they remember the great things God has done for them.
Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy.
I feel immediately convicted – do I model this psalm in my life? When I am struggling, when I am facing difficulties – do I gather my family around me and face head on the reality of our struggles while also reminding them of God’s faithful promises? Or do I attempt to deny the hard to my family and friends because I don’t want them to doubt God. Do I try to pretend that the hard wasn’t that hard because I’m afraid God can’t be bigger than the hard?
He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow…
I can easily go to the other extreme as well – instead of denying the hard I wallow in it. I have spent long periods of time nestled safely in my anguish and weeping. My imagination is limited and I’m prone to despair so I hunker down in my misery sure that my tomorrows will fraught with heartache and peril.
How quickly I forget the testimonies of God’s faithfulness in my life and the lives of my loved ones.
…will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.
Psalm 126 – 6 simple verses that I could meditate on for the rest of my life and never exhaust its meaning. Can we let this psalm be a model of worship for us? Can we use this psalm as a model for our time together in community?