Forget Not All His Benefits
Our natural tendency is to look at the sheet of white paper and focus on the single black dot on it. We count the days that are overcast, rather than the ones with bright sunshine. It's just who we are. Our focus is not the humanitarian outreach, it's the catastrophes. Disaster and crisis will draw our attention faster than something uplifting. Yet in the middle of all the bad news, there is still a lot of good that happens. There is more peace than war, more beauty than ugliness, more goodness and happiness than evil.
David wrote Psalm 103 during one of the darkest times of his life. Yet, he commanded his soul to bless the Lord, because he refused to be blinded by all the bad things. Verse 2 says, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits," and the rest of the psalm lists those benefits: "Who redeems your life from destruction ... Who satisfies your mouth with good things ..." and on and on.
I think a Christian's life should be marked by thanksgiving. Ask yourself, "Does thanksgiving permeate my life, or is it marked by complaining and ingratitude?" Thanksgiving doesn't come naturally; it needs to be cultivated. David needed to command his soul to bless the Lord, because of the human tendency to complain.
It's good to take inventory of God's blessings. You'll be amazed at how soon you run out of paper. Once I was walking around my neighborhood and thinking about all the things I had to thank God for. More things just kept coming to mind, and by the time I got to my requests, all I could think was, "God, You are so good!"
Yes, there are bad things going on, and yes, God wants hear our needs. After all, Philippians 4:6 says, "Let your requests be made known to God." But let's not forget the words that come just before that: "with thanksgiving." We should always remember to bless the Lord--to adore Him because of his goodness, and to return thanks to Him.
Several times in Psalm 103, David reflects on the forgiveness of the Lord, as in verse 12: "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." How's that for good news? He forgives all your sins -- that's the most important benefit you have to thank God for.
Let's not forget all His benefits.