Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Thanks to God for My Redeemer!

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion. Psalm 103:2-4

This old Swedish hymn is a good reminder of all we have to be thankful for. And although it has a lilting, sweet melody, the message isn’t about thanking God for the good life. It’s about thanking Him for tears, for storms, and for pain, in addition to the peace, comfort, grace and love that He provides. Even in the midst of the most discouraging situation, we can choose to be thankful.

We choose to be thankful for warm homes, afghans and hot chocolate in the middle of this cold winter. We choose to be thankful for a job that God has provided, even when we have a bad day. We choose to be thankful for the trials and suffering in our lives because we are being made more like Jesus as a result.

In this hymn, there is a lot we can be happy to be thankful for – but what about the hard things? Again, we choose. We can be thankful for what prayers God denies, as the hymn writer states in verse 2. We probably won’t see the reason immediately for God’s answer of “no,” but we can be assured that He has the plan for our life, and that His “no” is part of His plan for our growth and His glory.

The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. Psalm 103:19

One of the promises in this hymn is beyond comprehension, at least to me: grace that none can measure. As children of God, His grace is available to us, and it abounds! We can’t measure it, and as Paul says, He lavishes it on us!

He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. Ephesians 1:5-8

In addition to the immeasurable grace, there is incomparable love!

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

But it doesn’t stop there! There’s also peace, and hope!

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:17-20

Christ in you, the hope of glory… Colossians 1:27

We certainly have so much to be thankful for, as the writer says here, through all eternity.

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1

Lord, help me to be a grateful person, to continually praise you, and to choose to be thankful. You have given us so much: love, grace, peace, hope, and most importantly, a Redeemer who walks by our side. I pray that my thankfulness in all of life’s circumstances would point others to You.

Thanks to God for My Redeemer
Words by August L. Storm

Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!

Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heav’nly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity!

3 comments:

janna said...

Sara, if your life is anything like your blog, I believe that you are pointing people to Jesus.

How are things with you? You've been on my heart lately.

robert said...

Thanks for your perceptive comments on August Storm's fine hymn. (Today is the 147th anniversary of his birth.) You have hit at exactly what makes this song so special. It recognizes that, by faith, the believer can be thankful even in the more painful and difficult experiences of life.

"In everything give thanks" (I Thess. 5:18). Why? How? We can do it because of the realization that God is able to take the "all things" of life and work in them for our good and blessing, and for His own glory (Rom. 8:28).

Appreciated your well-expressed blog. And if you have an interest in the history of our hymns and gospel songs, I encourage you to check out Wordwise Hymns, my daily blog on hymn history. God bless.

robert said...

Back again, a year later. Just wanted to let you know about my Christmas book. Thought you might be interested (if you’ll excuse a brief “commercial.”)

With the arrival of fall, we begin to think of the Christmas season up ahead. If you do not have a good book on the subject of our Christmas carols, I encourage you to take a look at mine, Discovering the Songs of Christmas. In it, I discuss the history and meaning of 63 carols and Christmas hymns. The book is available through Amazon, or directly from Jebaire Publishing. (Might make a great gift too!)