There are times when I struggle to praise. It’s not so much that I struggle to identify how incredibly awesome God is. I see that. I feel it. It sends shivers up and down my spine. But, I’m a relational person. I’m a mental image person. I need a connection. It’s hard for me to just say how great God is. I need pictures.
I was reading Psalm 31 this week, and I noticed a picture I’ve never noticed before. It’s found in verse 19.
How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men! Psalm 31:19
You see, oftentimes I am caught up in the fact that God is good because that’s His nature. His goodness is automatic. Sometimes I feel like I just kind of happen to fall into that goodness. I’m His child. It’s His nature. So, as He works His grand scheme, I get caught up in His goodness by default.
Now the truth is that even just getting caught up in His goodness is a pretty awesome thing. I mean, He is the perfect, almighty Creator of everything in existence. I’m a speck in that creation. Practically nothingness! So, the fact that I actually get to benefit from His goodness is a pretty amazing fact to contemplate.
But, sometimes it’s just not enough.
When I’m struggling, discouraged, frustrated, angry, timid, overwhelmed, helpless, and just plain ready to give up, it’s not enough to be a speck that happens to benefit from God’s goodness as it filters through His big plan. That thought doesn’t bring me encouragement. It doesn’t lift me out of a pit of depression. It doesn’t keep me going when there seem to be no answers anywhere in sight.
No, what keeps me going is that I am more than a speck. I am HIS CHILD!
I can almost see David feeling the exact same way when he penned this Psalm. He starts with praise, speaking of God being a very personal fortress. But, then he speaks of where he is in this very moment. He’s distressed. He’s worn out. He’s overwhelmed and broken.
But, then in verse 14 he comes back to praise. Why? Because he has an intimate relationship with a personal God.
And that’s where the greatness of verse 19 comes in. Read it again…
How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men! Psalm 31:19 (emphasis mine)
Do you see it? Do you see the action there? David recognizes that in God’s eyes he isn’t just a speck in creation that happens to receive the benefit of God’s goodness. He’s God’s child to whom God actively imparts his goodness. The goodness is stored up. It is wrought! I love that word. The dictionary defines wrought as “worked; elaborated; embellished; not rough or crude; produced or shaped by beating with a hammer, as iron or silver articles.” To me it signifies an intentional, painstaking, intricate work with strong but beautiful results. It takes pounding. It takes hard impact. It is not a gentle process. But, the results are intricately beautiful.
God wouldn’t do that for a speck of His creation. He does it for His beloved children. I am one of His children. He has wrought His great goodness for me!
Now if that word picture doesn’t evoke praise in my heart, something is terribly wrong! Oh how grateful I am for the Word of God that reveals His nature to us in the way we need it. In the way our personalities were created to receive it! I was made to praise Him, and His Word was created to show me how! How great is the goodness He has wrought for me!