16 Kings aren’t saved by the strength of their armies;
warriors aren’t rescued by how much power they have.
17 A warhorse is a bad bet for victory;
it can’t save despite its great strength.
18 But look here: the Lord’s eyes watch all who honor him,
all who wait for his faithful love,
19 to deliver their lives from death
and keep them alive during a famine.
20 We put our hope in the Lord.
He is our help and our shield.
21 Our heart rejoices in God
because we trust his holy name.
22 Lord, let your faithful love surround us
because we wait for you.
Years ago, I was a junior varsity coach for a lacrosse team in which the varsity coach liked to run up the score. Of course the varsity coach didn’t see it this way. Yet despite leading games by many goals, I was told that we would keep our best players in the game, until only a few minutes remained. The reasons that the coach gave seemed troublesome to me. I felt that the attitude from the first-string players became arrogant and lacked humility. Furthermore, the look of defeat on the players left on the bench always haunted me. While I know that it takes great commitment to build a championship team, later I left that job to coach elsewhere. I wanted to work for a team in which the attitude felt less self-serving and more inclusive. I wanted to instill an attitude of gratitude in all of my students. Today this memory reminds me of these verses in Psalm 33.
How often do we pat ourselves on the back or see our accomplishments as just our own? How often do we choose an attitude of gratitude for all that life teaches us? Maybe we congratulate ourselves so much that we fail to recognize God. I am not saying that we shouldn’t be proud of our efforts and our achievements, only this: to God be the glory for all of our lives!
Perhaps it is easy to congratulate ourselves for our rewards and to blame God whenever we experience loss. We can and do thank the Lord when we sense God’s goodness. It’s more difficult to trust God as our Sustainer in times of strife. Even if thanksgiving is not what we are momentarily feeling, God is our hope and our shield. Perhaps through an attitude of gratitude, we can find humility throughout all of life’s successes and failures.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
When we are successful we often pat ourselves on the back. Yet when we experience difficulty, how often do we blame God? It is the Lord who we need to trust through both our successes and failures. But keeping an attitude of gratitude is not always easy. Who or what helps to keep you humble about all of life’s blessings? How can you remember to be thankful and to trust Our Sustainer in times of strive?
Prayer: Great Sustainer, thank you for loving me just as I am. Help me to trust in you for all that life has to offer. I am so grateful for your gifts and your comforting peace in times of difficulty. As I continue to learn from your patient ways, help me to sense comfort in you. Help me to reflect my trust in your goodness to all others along my way and to find an attitude of gratitude as I walk in the way of Jesus. Amen.