Psalm 96:1-2 (NRSV)
O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
Everyone faces make-or-break situations. Something or someone comes along and hits us so hard that we either crumble or find the strength to grow and change through the adversity. Factors that determine whether we will grow or crumble can be age and temperament, the support of peers, physical and emotional health, skills we have acquired for coping with disappointments and injustices, and the stability of our self-image. A critical factor is whether we have an enduring hope that helps us see a future beyond our current circumstance.
For those of us who belong to Christ, challenging circumstances offer the chance for God to recreate us into an image more closely aligned with the divine mind and heart. In Christ, we find strength to grow and hope to motivate us beyond our sorrow, disappointment, and pain.
Depending on the nature and depth of our adversity, the process of growing may be lengthy and arduous. It may even take years before we can look back and see the faithful hand of God holding us up and remolding our hearts, repairing the fractures and restoring our faith.
Like the psalmist, we can then sing a new song because we have arrived at a different place—in our life, in our identity, in our understanding of God. The story we tell will now incorporate this new knowledge and confidence in God, whose name we bless with new words of intimacy and gratitude. All the earth waits for us to share our story of God’s saving grace, and all the earth benefits when we add our unique notes to creation’s ongoing hymn of praise.
FATHER, there have been circumstances in my life so crushing that I did not think I could bear them. Thank you for seeking after me when I’ve turned away, for healing what I thought could never be healed, and for showing me a future beyond my pain. May I sing your praise with a new heart of thanksgiving and love for all the wonders of your gracious care.
Isaiah 12:2; Revelation 1:5b-6
Write a song—a sentence, a paragraph, or a page—reflecting how God saw you through a difficult circumstance.