I am bound by the vow I made to you, O God; I will present to you thankofferings; For you have rescued my soul from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living. Psalm 56:11–12
Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but stands fast for ever. Psalm 125:1
The ungodly go to and fro in the evening; they snarl like dogs and run about the city. They forage for food, and if they are not filled, they howl. For my part, I will sing of your strength; I will celebrate your love in the morning; For you have become my stronghold, a refuge in my day of trouble. To you, O my Strength, will I sing; for you, O God, are my stronghold and my merciful God. Psalm 59:16–20
You wonder what to do when you feel attacked on all side by seemingly irresistible forces, waves that cover you and want to sweep you off you feet. Sometimes these waves consist of feeling rejected, feeling forgotten, feeling misunderstood. Sometimes they consist of anger or resentment, and sometimes of self-pity or self-rejection. These waves make you feel like a powerless child abandoned by your parents.
What are you to do? Make the conscious choice to move the attention of your anxious heart away from these waves and direct it to the One who walks on them and says, “It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” Keep turning your eyes to Him and go on trusting that He will bring peace to your heart. Look at Him and say, “Lord, have mercy.” Say it again and again, not anxiously but with confidence that He is very close to you and will put your soul to rest. Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love
I love the story of Jesus walking on the waves. And Peter. And as I peddled up Sentential Peak this morning it was really easy to picture Jesus walking on top of every anxious thought. And in my mind’s eye, he is calm and cheerful and confident and full of love. So let me not be one who shoves God out of my spinning thoughts like a stray hungry and howling dog who is never satisfied. Rather, let me stand fast on the sturdy rock.
Thankofferings it is. This version runs it together as one word. Because as we read in Micah last night, it’s not about the sacrifices of thousands of rams and ten thousands rivers of oil. Rather it is a heart of justice, mercy and humility. And thankofferings.
I have a lot of very unusual names to memorize today in order to welcome my students into a brand new school year. Wow. Here it goes. Starting at 7:15 a.m. when the teachers prepare breakfast for the students.
You are my stronghold and my merciful God. Lord, have mercy.