Many of you know that, in addition to the text or watchword for the day, our Daily Texts include some Scripture readings for the day. This week I have been enjoying reading through one of my favorite psalms, Psalm 107. The psalm speaks of people who are facing many different challenges and difficult situations. Some are in deserts – geographically, spiritually or emotionally – longing to be refreshed; some are in prison – bound by forces (hatred, violence, addictions…) that hold them down and keep them from being free; some are sick and suffering because of physical ailments, crying out for health and strength and daily bread; some are facing storms that disrupt their worlds as they try to go about the business of living.
In the Psalm, all of these people cry out to God and God saves and redeems all of them! But it is interesting to note that God does this in different ways because their needs are different. People in deserts (like the folks in places that are being destroyed by fire and being turned into parched lands) need lots of water. But water is the last thing that people in the midst of storms (like those on the Gulf Coast) need right now. And God’s response to those who are sick and to those who are in prison is not the same, but each response serves the need that is present.
Now, what if all of these folks – the ones in the desert, the ones in prison, the ones facing illness, the ones in the midst of storms – what if they would start discussing and debating and arguing about how God works in the world? What if one of them would say, “God is a God who leads us to water!” and another would respond, “Huh? No way! God gets us out of the water!” And then the person who has been cured and the one who has been set free might start debating the details of God’s redemptive process. No!! The psalmist says that all of these people need to give thanks to God together and share their stories so that we can gain a greater understanding of who God is and how God works in the world. Then we all can “give thanks to the Lord, for he is good… and his love endures forever!”