Trusting God

driving through giant redwood

O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
who spread out the earth on the waters,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
who made the great lights,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
and rescued us from our foes,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
who gives food to all flesh,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
(Psalm 136:1-9; 23-26)

When I was growing up, family vacation every summer meant a camping trip, usually in the Northwest Cascades. It was the magical part of childhood we look back on wistfully as adults. We hiked all over, usually to the top of a peak with amazing views. We spent hours exploring around our campground, taking stacks of pictures of squirrels and wildflowers, swimming in the creek and playing in the water. When it rained, and it always rained (this is the Northwest, after all) we would crowd into the tent with a lantern and snacks, and all read our books.

One very special vacation we visited the Redwood National Forest in northern California. We stood in awe looking at the trees shooting up and up. Sound seemed muffled except for the birds singing everywhere. And the marvelous scent of the trees there filled you with peace. We were amazed that all the ground was covered with the rich red topsoil from the trees. And yes, we drove through the living redwood tree in our station wagon. It is one of the places my memory seeks out when I feel stressed. All our camping trips were full of fun and unforgettable times, but that year stands out as special.

Right now forests are blazing all over the West Coast. I cried when I heard that they were burning in the redwoods. Many of the very places I walked are now being walked by firefighters, desperately trying to slow flames and save lives and property. The skies and sun are colors that don’t even seem possible. We cry out to God to protect all those who are fighting fires, those being evacuated, and those who have lost their families and homes to the fires.

The Psalmist had experienced terrible times. Yet in Psalm 136 he lists many of the mighty acts God had performed for the Israelites. This psalm is a call and response psalm, in which a canter would sing the verse, and the assembled people would sing the chorus.

King David envisioned building the Temple, but God chose his son King Solomon to build it. The Temple must have been a glorious sight, built of cedar from Lebanon, covered with gold, jewels and carving. My mental picture is that when the organizers planned the great, once-in-a-lifetime Dedication Service for the Temple, someone said, “Well, we must sing ‘His Steadfast Love Endures Forever’.” And all the other planners excitedly agreed, sort of like it was their version of “How Great Thou Art!” At the ceremony King Solomon knelt and prayed a prayer of dedication in front of the assembled Israelites.

“It was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord,  ‘For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,’ the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God”
(2 Chronicles 5:13-14).

Wow, if that doesn’t give you goosebumps you need to read it again. God’s glory in all its power was poured down upon the Israelites.

Today we grieve as others have grieved before us. In the smoke and haze we seek for light. But remember, God’s love is steadfast: God’s mercy will protect us, deliver us, forgive us, and heal us. We must hold on to that promise through all the disasters that threaten to overwhelm us. Hallelujah!

Di Seba

Di Seba

Member of Trinity Lutheran, Nampa ID

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Mary Braudrick

    What a wonderful message of hope in these overwhelming days. Thank you, Di!

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