1 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
4 Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
5 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
6 O offspring of Abraham, his servant,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones!
7 He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
8 He remembers his covenant forever,
the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
9 the covenant that he made with Abraham,
his sworn promise to Isaac,
10 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant,
11 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
as your portion for an inheritance.”
What an immediately beautiful reminder that God is faithful and good! Sometimes it can hard for us to remember that God is faithful and good in the midst of something difficult. It’s always been that way for me. Whenever I’ve struggled through trials in my life, I want to cry out to God, “where are you?” Now, when I look back at many of those situations, it’s so obvious what I’ve learned from them, how I’ve grown out of them, and who I’ve become because of them. Last year my pastor said something that my wife and I quote to each other on occasion. It’s not necessarily an idea that I wasn’t already aware of, but it was put so succinctly that it brought to mind a clear image. It was at that moment, that something I knew became something I really believed. He said that God’s will is best discerned in the rearview mirror.
It’s simple, it’s straightforward, and in some ways it’s obvious. Try as I might, I struggle to understand God’s will in any given situation, but when I look back, I see how so many small decisions have impacted my life in dramatic ways. I see how the decision to send one specific text at one specific moment helped get me an unbelievable wife. I see how one reckless decision on choosing a college, altered my worldview for the better. I even see it in my family, how a new job took us to a different town and how that made all the difference. It’s hard for me to separate my identity, now, from so many small things. God’s guiding hand is as clear as day. When I “remember the wondrous works that he has done,” it becomes difficult to talk about my past without telling people about them and without making His deeds known.
The rearview mirror is backward focused. If you don’t regularly think about your past for whatever reason, I’d encourage you to reflect deeply. Make connections and think about how you’re better because of what you’ve experienced. Doing this doesn’t just keep us in the past, though. It makes us seek Him. It makes us “seek His presence continually.” It makes me want to seek Him because in seeing how He has guided my life in the past, I become convinced that He will do the same in the future, and it’s my prayer that you’ll feel that as well.
Prayer and Reflection
Pray that God will show you the ways in which he has been faithful to you in the past. Reflect on where you’ve been and how you’ve gotten to where you are today. If you’re in a difficult space right now, remember a time when you weren’t and know that where you are now is as temporary as anything else you’ve experienced and let that lead you to seek His presence continually.