I looked out my window at the snowy hillside on a bright windy early March day during the isolation of the COVID pandemic. Starting to read Psalm 90, I found this amazing request:
Make us rejoice for as many days as you have humbled us,
for as many years as we have seen adversity. (Psalm 90:15 CSB)
When we remember our own times of affliction and trouble, how do we react? Do our memories cause anxiety, annoyance and grief as they repeat endlessly?
Today’s opening verse reminds us that affliction is only temporary. Indeed, if I keep re-experiencing or re-feeling troublesome past things, then I am ripping myself off of God’s righteousness and peace. It’s helpful to think of the meaning of resentment: it means to re-feel something. So resentment is a re-play of past negative feelings.
I remember a time when I underwent a sharp and prolonged rebuke by a boss and I felt my face turning bright red and staying red. Yet today when I recall that incident, instead of re-feeling the humiliation, I view the job loss that followed as God’s way of bringing a key turning point in my life. Sure, at the time it seemed sharp and unexpected — who likes being fired? But God used it in leading me to a new career and in setting the stage for exactly where he has me in life in 2021.
Seeing how God used that past humiliation to bring me into a new career reminds me that God has a way of turning adversity to joy.
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)
I don’t claim that this joy-replacement is instant and 24 by 7. There are other humiliations I have had that God is still applying his restoring grace to! But even though I have not been instantly cured of the pull of old bad memories and experiences, I am glad that their grip is shrinking and that I can keep being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)