When I’m driving, I usually am focused on one of two things: where I’m trying to go, or the cars in front of me that never seem to move quickly enough. Either way, my attention is geared towards my desires for the future, about where I hope to be. This definitely stems from impatience in-part, but also from the fact that my head is usually a few steps ahead of the rest of me, residing in a reality that my mind has configured rather than that of the present moment.
In some ways, living in the future benefits me because focusing on the end goal can motivate my work or help me make plans wisely. It also can serve as a coping mechanism for uncomfortable situations, as I cling the the hope of something better. But sometimes this futuristic, fantastical thinking can get me in trouble, distracting me from the work of God in the here-and-now.
I always used to have a hard time paying attention when reading the Psalms. My eyes would often glaze over, and I’d finish a page only to have no clue what I’d even read. I even found myself rolling my eyes at times at the repetitive references to war, struggle, and woe. Knowing this about myself, I set out to re-read the entire book of Psalms — and I mean really read them — not just rushing through the words to check the chapters off my list. By being intentionally slow, I’ve been able to savor the passages, identify with the sentiments shared, and pray through them. This time around, the Psalms have blessed me instead of burdened me.
In reading this morning, I was stricken by Psalm 77:13-15, which reads:
“You ways, God, are holy.
What God is as great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.”
What amazed me about this passage was how God was being praised in tangible ways for his previous work, giving testimony to who he was and still is: holy, mighty, able.
Reading myself into the old testament can be challenging at times, because I can’t much identify with living in a dessert through numerous wars, eating locusts, and bathing in a river. But I can appreciate that God did big things in the lives of Jacob and Joseph, delivering them from their struggles and redeeming their hearts.
God has done that for me, too. He is pulled me out of dark places, restored my broken spirit, and breathed new life into me. One of the clearest demonstrations of this has been in the way he healed my disordered relationship with food and cleared my mind of such distracting, despairing, and distorted thoughts. In reflecting on who I used to be, I am reminding of who God still is. Sometimes reflecting on the feelings and behaviors I experienced when I was ill is painful, but it reminds me that God is the one who performs miracles! The transformation in my own life was so dramatic and profound that I can’t attribute it to anything else besides his power and grace.
Knowing the work that God has done helps me to see the work he is currently doing. God didn’t stop performing miracles when Jesus rose from the dead. He is alive and active right now. He is in the business of saving souls and restoring lives, and I can see it all around me if I bring my focus back to the present moment.
How do you see God at work today?