Seeing God’s goodness in my past brings hope for my future - 12 September 2018

Ewald Schmidt

A song of ascents. “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:1-3 (NIV)

Behind the façade of happiness in these first three verses, there is hidden a song of lamentation. This song tells a story of times of tribulation and sorrow. It is a prayer seeking God’s help in a time of need. Behind this song you hear of a natural disaster: a time of extreme drought that is threatening the existence of God’s people. Everything does not go according to man’s desire. As God’s children, on a pilgrimage through life with him, we also know these hard times. There might be hurtful experiences, unfulfilled desires; we might be saddened by a great loss. In the journey of life it is so important to come to a place of rest when we cannot cope anymore. It is so important to remain calm: to bring worry and fear and lay it at the throne of God. 

When the pilgrim realises that the day is a hard one, he begins by looking back upon his journey. He sees that the past is filled with the deeds of salvation where God has led his children out of a place of misery. This psalm was probably written soon after the time of exile in Babylon. The Persian Empire had won a great victory over Babylon, and sent all the captured exiles back to their country of origin. This period in time was remembered with great joy, and songs of praise were sung to God’s glory. God has set us free again!

But soon after the euphoria of returning to Jerusalem, the hard reality of life set in again. There was a time of extreme drought, and the economy had an uphill battle to grow. People endured times of great hardship, struggling to survive in desperate times. In verse 4, the children of God started praying to the Lord for his help. In those times of suffering they pleaded that he would change their destiny again. They asked that the dry riverbeds of Judah would soon be transformed into streams of life-giving water. They prayed for those who sowed their seeds in fear, and with tears streaming, that they may reap a harvest that will make them laugh and rejoice again.

When we look back upon our journey of life there are so many stories of God’s mercy and goodness. Today may be a difficult day. Some regions of South Africa experience a drought of epic proportions. There is so much anxiety about our sluggish economy and unemployment. May we go forward on this journey with faith in our hearts. May there be a good harvest coming, and a future where we can rejoice and sing God’s praises.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, it is so difficult to plant seed this year, with so much uncertainty over conditions of drought, and political instability. So many people suffer so greatly due to unemployment. People are losing hope. Today we pray: restore our fortunes. Open your hand of blessing over us. Help us Lord, and we will sing and rejoice in you alone. Amen

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