Scripture Focus: Psalm 107.19-22, 43
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.
21 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
22 Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy
43 Let the one who is wise heed these things
and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.
Reflection: Stories of the Redeemed
By John Tillman
Psalm 107 commands those redeemed by the Lord to tell their stories. Then the writer tells about several groups of the redeemed. One might expect stories of glorious kings, great moral leaders, righteous prophets, and powerful warriors. If that’s what we expect the stories of the redeemed to be, this psalm would be highly disappointing.
The psalmist chooses to highlight the losers, the castoffs, the unwanted, and the condemned:
There is a story of migrants wandering in a desert, looking for a country to settle in…
There is a story of prisoners sitting in darkness because of their rebellion against God…
There is a story of foolish rebels who suffer illness and affliction because of their sins…
There is a story of wealthy and powerful merchants confronted with their own mortality and powerlessness…
What is the point? Why should we care for stories of the vagrants, the vagabonds, and the vanquished? We are listening for the turnaround point. Each of these stories has one and these stories are our stories too.
We are redeemed by a God who turns situations around. God turns rivers into deserts and deserts into flowing streams. He makes possible cities and gardens where before there were only wastes and wilds. He lovingly pursues those who run from him. No matter how far we run, whenever we turn around to return, God will be standing right there to receive us.
When we run to wealth, when we run to empty philosophies, when we run to addictions and distractions, even when we run without a destination, God patiently waits for our turnaround point.
In each of the psalmist’s stories, the people reached a crisis before reaching out to God. We don’t have to wait for a crisis to find a turnaround point but we often do. All followers of Christ have a story of redemption with a turnaround point.
Which of these stories is closest to your own?
How did you reach the point where you “cried out to the Lord” in your trouble”?
How was your life different after your “turnaround point”?
Prayerfully recall your story of redemption. Thank God in prayer for his patience and persistence in pursuing you. Prepare yourself and ask God to give you the chance to share your redemption story.
What is your story of redemption? Tell it to someone who needs a turnaround.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your Name give glory; because of your love and because of your faithfulness. — Psalm 115.1
– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle
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