Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 (NRSV)
On this day God has acted
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures forever!
Let Israel say,
"His steadfast love endures forever." ...
The Lord is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation.
There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:
"The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
the right hand of the Lord is exalted;
the right hand of the Lord does valiantly."
I shall not die, but I shall live,
and recount the deeds of the Lord.
The Lord has punished me severely,
but he did not give me over to death.
Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord's doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had days where grief, sadness, and depression have been so overwhelming in my life that I had no idea how I would get out of bed. I laid under the covers wishing to return to rest, to forget the pain, and to return to happier days.
I am blessed that my sadness rarely lasts more than a day or two, but I have counseled others for whom depression is a constant companion and visited others in the hospital who have even attempted to take their own lives.
Whether or not you have ever been so depressed that you considered taking your life, you have probably known a “dark night of the soul.” Whether you have lost a child, a partner, or a parent to illness or accident, lost a job or experienced a foreclosure on a home, your marriage has ended in divorce despite your best efforts, or any other grief, it seems to me that great sadness attends the heart of every human being at some time or another in every life.
I don’t know what your public--or secret--sorrow is, but God does. Today’s psalmist knew a dark night of the soul, but he also came up out of that “valley of the shadow of death.” I hope that his testimony will inform our own.
I love the psalmist’s words, “God is good and God’s steadfast love lasts forever!” This steadfast, and forever love, will not let you go even during the darkest night of your soul. Rather, God’s love shines brightly, illuminating our pain and our heartache and working to bring good out of bad situations.
I love how the psalm says that God is able to bring salvation, victory, and joy out of the most depressing of circumstances. We know that this is true because God accomplished the greatest victory of all time, when he took the sin, evil, death, and destruction of Jesus’ death on the cross and brought about the love, joy, and peace of Christ’s resurrection!
The certainty that God always ensures that our Good Fridays are followed by Resurrection Mornings is what keeps us going in the most troubled of circumstances. Knowing that God does not abandon us to the grave, but welcomes us into new life in Christ, fills our hearts with great hope even as we face the bleakest of life’s circumstances!
The psalmist says that this knowledge is marvelous and I agree! God is able to lift us out of the sinking sand of our lives and set us upon the mountaintops if we will put all of our hope and trust in God, whose name is Love. This love relationship with God is what allowed the psalmist to say, “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!”
Instead of taking stock of what is wrong, let us take stock of what is right. God loves us forever and unconditionally! There is nothing you have done--or ever will do--that will make God stop. God proved God's never-ending love for all of us when Jesus went to the cross to make provision for our sin to be forgiven and for us to inherit eternal life.
Since we are living and breathing, we have been blessed. Since we have the activity of our minds and hearts, we have been blessed. If we have family or friends who love us, we have been blessed. If we have any food or water at all, we have been blessed!
I could go on and on, but I think you get the message! Today’s reading reminds us that one of the best ways to come up out of great sadness is to begin to thank the Lord for all that is right and to share that GOOD NEWS with others!
As we focus on the positive, rather than the negative, we will find that we make room in our hearts and minds for God’s Holy Spirit to minister to us giving us the courage to count our blessings, share our testimonies, seek help, counseling, and medication if necessary, and to always, always believe that God has the power to resurrect even the driest of bones in our lives.
Alleluia! Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!
What three things--or people--are you most grateful for today? Will you tell somebody?
Loving God, I may be sad today, but I know that I may not be sad tomorrow. Please bring joy and peace into my heart. Help me to remember all of the wonderful blessings that you have shared with me. Help me to share those blessings with others! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING SUICIDE, PLEASE STOP AND DO ONE OF THE FOLLOWING NOW!
· Call 911 or the emergency number in your community
· Contact a family member or friend.
· Contact a doctor, mental health provider or other health care provider.
· Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.
· Go to your local hospital emergency room.
· Call 1-800-SUICIDE in the U.S.
· In the UK dial 08457 90 90 90.
· In the Republic of Ireland dial 1850 60 90 90.
· Visit http://www.befrienders.org/ to find suicide prevention resources in your country!
God loves you so very, very much! You are not alone; God is with you and wants you to get the help you need. Please reach out to someone right now. We are praying for you in Jesus’ Name!
If you have additional questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, "Come to Jesus" found at
We are celebrating with the 11 people who have recently put all their hope in Jesus! Happy Re-birthday!
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From Pastor Yolanda's blog http://aintathatgoodnews.blogspot.com