Today’s reading: Psalm 103.
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.
As we all know, on Tuesday May 19, the government announced that all overnight camps will not run this summer (news that I had been fearful of and dreading for many weeks). That morning, before we had any idea the announcement would be made, myself and a few of our other staff had a short time of prayer, and someone shared this beautiful passage, in the context of all of us struggling with fear and having no idea what was going to happen this summer: “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits-…” (Psalm 103:2)
I’ve read it before, but it struck my heart in a new way that day: forget not all His benefits.
What are His benefits?
That He stops all harm and discomfort from coming our way? That He will answer my prayers exactly as I want? …No.
David goes on to list them: “…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.” (Psalm 103: 3-5). If you have time to read the whole psalm today, I encourage you to do so!
The Lord does not promise an easy life when we follow Him and He does not promise that we will get what we want, exactly when we want it. The benefit of walking with the Lord is that He has given us salvation, has forgiven our sins, and He provides our joy and what we need, because what we need is Him. He is our prize. He – His love and His mercy and all that He is – is the benefit!
Why do you think David tells us to forget not all God’s benefits?
I believe it is because there are times in our life – most especially during trials and suffering – when it is hard to see the goodness of God. It is in these times that we need to remind ourselves of all He has done for us and all that we know He is doing, even when we can’t see it. It’s a time to raise our Ebenezer.
In 1 Samuel 7, Samuel sets up a stone and named it Ebenezer saying, “Thus far has the Lord helped us” (1 Sam. 7:12). Ebenezer means ‘stone of help’. It was to be a reminder to the Israelites that the Lord had provided and helped them, so that they would not forget.
Forget not all His benefits.
When you are struggling
When you are struggling to see the goodness of God, do you remind yourself of all He has done to prove Himself good and worthy of praise?
Friends, I challenge you today to spend time reflecting or writing down the many ways you have seen the Lord work. Jesus’ death on the cross was the ultimate proof of His incredible love and faithfulness, and the sheer fact that you know Him is something to celebrate and praise Him for daily.
The cancellation of all overnight camps has been a huge disappointment to all of us.
Camp MYW has been a huge part of my life – and my summers – for 14 years now. I love getting to work at Camp and I look forward to the summer all year, so this news about Camp hit me hard. I believe the Lord knew that I needed that reminder from Psalm 103 – to forget not all His benefits – on that specific day for that very reason. I have had to remind myself many times that the Lord has been so faithful, and I’ve had to spend time intentionally remembering all He has done. It helps bring my heart to a place of thankfulness and trust, rather than fear and frustration at what is happening. This doesn’t mean that it is wrong to be disappointed – it is totally okay to be in that place. But take that disappointment to the Lord, pray, and keep reminding yourself of all He has done for you in the past. Just like we see all throughout the Old Testament, when the Israelites were frustrated with their circumstances, they often struggled with bitterness and unbelief. They needed the stone of help to remind them that they serve a God who provides and loves them, even when they didn’t understand what was going on. Let us also set up an Ebenezer to remember and rejoice in all God has done.
Love to you all!
A Digital Refresh is a regular series for the staff at Mini-Yo-We.
When we gather together for worship and learn from God’s word we call it “Refresh.” Even though we aren’t at camp we can still gather together to share God’s word through a Digital Refresh.
For more resources check out our summer staff resource page.