Looking Back, Moving Forward
I’m always glad when I get through January and early February. Why? Because there are hazardous dates in there. Reflecting back though, I can say I was never alone.
This morning I read Psalm 116, and picked out some phrases that stood out to me. That psalm could have been the song Jesus and His disciples sang after the last supper.
Here are the phrases that stood out to me:
He heard my voice
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
The LORD is gracious and righteous, full of compassion
The LORD has been good to you.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants.
I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD.
He heard my voice.
Looking back on my January’s and the first week of February have for the past twelve years brought back memories, mostly sad, yet full of hope. During those early years, I remembered difficult times, yes, but I also remembered the closeness of my Savior. I called out in my distress–and he heard my cries. He heard my voice. (verse 1). Just as the psalmist, I experienced sorrow and distress when my loved ones left this earth, I was overcome by distress and sorrow (verse 3b). Yet, The LORD is gracious and righteous, full of compassion. The LORD has been good to you.
It is with joy….
The psalm comes full circle. God heard, had compassion, was good, and gives salvation. I will lift the cup of salvation (verse13a). He reminds me: Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants (verse 15). During the memorial services of both my parents, my husbands, I was able to give thanks for what God did in their lives and mine as well. At the time, it was a sacrifice to give thanks. Yet I know they are with the Savior in Heaven.
Precious means: of great value; not to be wasted, or treated carelessly.
It is good to look back, to give thanks.
It is good to look back at our loved one’s lives. To give thanks for them. To see how God gave me compassion, comfort, love, and salvation.
Looking back more than 25 years ago now, my dad entered Heaven’s gates. Twelve years ago, my first husband, Bill, entered those same gates. Eight years ago, Blair entered them. And Mom, nearly eight years ago, entered the gates. There are many more names I could mention, but these are the closest ones to me.
They were huge blessings to me….
Each of those people: Henry, Rose, Bill and Blair were huge blessings to me–and to others too. It isn’t a sacrifice any more to give praise. I experience gratefulness for the memories. But more than memories, I will see each of them again one day, when it is my time to leave this earth. It’s getting closer every day.
I’m reminded of the words of Isaac Watts, a renown hymn writer of the early 18th century:
I love the Lord; he bowed his ear,
And chased my grief away!
O let my heart no more despair,
While I have breath to pray.
Of great value
Take heart, those of you who are grieving still. Where giving praise is a sacrifice. In time, remembering won’t be as painful and the precious memories–“not to be wasted,” “of great value” will cause you to rejoice for their lives, no matter the time they lived here on earth.
Read Psalm 116
I suggest you pull out your Bible and read Psalm 116 and write down phrases that speak to you. They will be unique to you, but possibly, similar to mine.
Look back and reflect.
I pray you too experience the comfort and compassion that only God can give. And one day, you can look back and reflect those precious memories.
Next week, I’m going to share with you the unexpected joy I experienced…..Stay tuned!