I took some time to place some stickers in my Passion Planner Daily. I have been using it along with my bullet journal to make intentional use of my time during the summer (this teacher is off and grateful) ! I chose a Happy Planner Sticker to put on the blank journaling page in my Passion planner , it says “Good Things Are Coming,” (see image below). Later that evening I hopped onto the Zoom call for my ladies small group meeting for church. We looked at Psalm 10 and then our conversation lead us to read Psalm 73, aloud. Both Psalms have the psalmist discussing wickedness and longing for God to act. Psalm 10 opens and closes centered on God’s character, and in Psalm 73 we see the effect of worship,encountering God’s presence on the psalmist.
Psalm 73 has long been a favorite especially verses 23 – 26
” Yet I am always with you ; you hold my right hand; you guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me up in glory. Who do I have in heaven but you ? And I desire nothing on earth but you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:23-26, CSB)
But this time when I read Psalm 73 aloud, it was almost as if I was seeing the 28th and final verse for the first time :
“But as for me, God’s presence is my good. I have made the Lord God my refuge, so I can tell about all you do.” (Psalm 73:28, CSB)
First of all, this is quite a contrast to how Asaph begins in verse 2 “But as for me, my feet almost slipped.” Asaph is brutally honest about 2 things in this psalm : 1.) His feelings, frustrations and confusion. He envied the wicked because they appeared to prosper – I would imagine this confounded him & left him pretty befuddled, right ? AND 2.) What he does with these frustrations – He is open and honest with God about his anger and anxieties, in prayer. And He is even more “loud” about the impact of turning to God!
The end of this psalm highlights the power and the need to enter into God’s presence in worship to be transformed, daily. It emphasizes God’s faithfulness and the fact that His provision is not dependent on our obedience (despite failures, God is our strength & portion [inheritance, lot – whew !]
This statement “But as for me, God’s presence is my good,” seems to be placed here as if to say “all that may appear to offer prosperity and good to you pale in comparison to encountering God’s presence!” In God’s presence we find the truth, the hope, and the strength we need to persevere. In God’s presence we find, as Asaph says, a refuge.
So amidst Asaph’s confusion with life, he turns to God and is raw about where He is; He encounters God in worship and finds strength & refuge; and He cannot help but tell others about God and all He does !
I ended up writing this verse, several times (Psalm 73:28) in my planner, journal, and bible journal. I did this on autopilot but it made me realize how writing Scripture out has not only helped me to memorize verses but it has forced me to take time to turn to God . It has helped quiet anxiety and it has brought a firm comfort, like a good mattress or pillow, for rest in deep, dark times. Writing out prayers has served the same purpose.
Are you languishing, in a place of despair, confusion, frustration, depression or anxiety? Be honest with God about it. Ask Him to be your refuge and hope. Verse 28 does not cover over the pain or confusion of hard, dark times. It is however true – “God’s presence is my good.” It is a reminder that God’s presence changes everything – every pain, every circumstance, every trial, every hard season. It is a reminder that we are invited to feast daily, to commune with God and be changed by our times with Him.
I imagine this is what waiting on God looks like – blaring loud worship, through tears and confusion; reading His Word or listening to it when we don’t feel like it, expecting to be met by Him; honest prayers; and earnestly seeking sight for the ways, big & small, that God shows His love and mercy daily (His mercies are truly new every morning !). Maybe it is someone encouraging you with truth you needed to hear in that moment without you telling them your need. Maybe it is a song of worship coming on shuffle that uplifts your spirit to praise and thanksgiving even if just for a moment, in the midst of despair. I love the third verse in the hymn “How firm a Foundation” :
“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.“
The final verse of the hymn echoes the promise of God’s presence:
“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no, never, no, never forsake!”
For further thought :
- Do you chose to turn to God in times of confusion or anxiety or do you turn away from Him? What does that look like for you to turn to God in those times?
- See Exodus 33:14. Moses desired to feast on all the Lord had to offer. Do you desire the Lord as your portion ? Do you partake in the rest He offers or are you looking for truth, hope & strength elsewhere?
- Humbly profess the Desire of your Heart For God
- CCEF’s Podcast , Where Life & Scripture Meet