“How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?” (Psalm 116)
This phrase of Psalm 116 always stands out to me, but it has especially marked me this past year and a half. During this time, I’ve learned that I have ALS, but I’ve also experienced so many consoling signs of God’s love and detailed care. I was able to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with friends and family, to work online and give testimony to hope in God’s faithfulness and constancy, and to make a move from the Philippines back to the USA.
Over and over again, as people around me learn of my illness, they inevitably have a sad reaction of some sort. This is human and understandable. However, surprisingly, my first reaction to the news of my diagnosis was a phrase similar to that of Psalm 116 today: “Lord, you have been so good to me, throughout my whole life! Perhaps this is something I can finally return to you!”
Joy in Giving Good Back
In our current world, so many of us are looking out for ourselves, for our own “good,” but there can be a deep joy and freedom in giving “good” back, in the little ways we can, and thus making “a return to the Lord, for all the good he has done for me.”
I’ve found in this year and a half that retuning my sufferings to the Lord as a gift to Him has been the spring that kick-starts my joy. I’ll get up in the morning and think, “Lord, it’s difficult to walk today. I give this to you.” By mid-morning, He has already given me back 100-fold in the friendship of others, in a funny incident that makes me laugh, in a spring flower out my window, in so many little things! I am never able to pay Him back. His goodness to me overflows and I can’t hold back the joy that comes from knowing He loves me, as I am, with all that He is.
So, I want to ask you, what is your gift to God today? Decide to give Him something today, and watch how His goodness overflows. For Aeneas and Tabitha, it was physical healing. For me, it has been joy in suffering. What will it be for you? Let the Lord surprise you today.