It started with a recollection of a chorus I remember being sung in some of the church settings of my childhood. The chorus simply went:
The Lord has done great things for us, whereof we are glad
That as the keen bible scholars will know is taken from Psalm 126:3 in the KJV. I was walking and the song came to me, so I referred to the psalm from which it was taken. I read it and then read it again. Then I looked at a couple of commentaries on the psalm itself.
One commentator pointed out the nature of the psalm as reflecting something that God was doing based on something He had done whilst still waiting for the fullness of it through that which He was about to do. Fitting then that this verse finds itself almost halfway through the psalm.
It got me thinking again about perspective. As a follower of Jesus I believe that His Kingdom is here now. I also believe the fullness of that Kingdom is yet to be realised. Yet I also believe that that Kingdom was ushered in when Jesus kicked off His earthly ministry by announcing that the Kingdom was here. So in a real way, it is here and it is yet to come and it has been here for centuries.
That might sound a little weird, but as I grow it makes sense. There is an anticipation of what is to come on the return of the Son and there is a rejoicing of what I experience because the Spirit lives inside me and there is a catalogue of the great things God has already done.
There it is though – the great things. That was what triggered off the memory of the song. Looking at my children, considering my beautiful wife, noting the church family God has situated me in, seeing how He has surrounded me with good friends and opportunities. then beyond that recollecting the great works of God in my life from delivering me from a number of hang-ups, to rescuing me from some great depths of despair, healing me of some conditions. When I think of the great works He has done in taking me from where I was in life to where I am, I know what it is to rejoice in the great things that God has done. Counting my blessings doesn’t have to go for too long before a wave of praise and adoration is sent up to God.
I am not blind to other aspects of my circumstances and the seemingly prevalent evil lurking in the world around me. I am not ignorant of the pain, suffering and injustice that I come across in various stages of life. It’s just that the Kingdom of God and the rule of righteousness and peace that comes from engaging with God comes across as something that will deal with all that bad stuff that I am aware of.
It’s knowing that Jesus who defeated death and has all power in heaven and earth, will complete what He started on His return. In the meantime He looks for His brethren to be about the business of sharing the great things that He has done, is doing and is about to do with the watching world around us.
It is like we are in the middle of something and it is for our eyes to look at Him who has overcome the world and see how He can give us the confidence that the wars we wage in life will be worthwhile when the victorious trumpet sounds. Even as we wait for that trumpet, there are glimpses available for us to behold as we follow Him.
Then as we do so, it is not just the personal that we celebrate, it is the corporate, the community experience of the great things that make us glad.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden