A Peace that Passes All Understanding
by David Thompson
God wants to be very real to us and will come close as we draw close to Him. I know there have been times when this was true of my life. I remember the first time was in the small town of Houghton, New York, in the early 1970s. I had only been a Christian about four months when several boys in the dorm school I attended started what we might call today a small group. We prayed, shared scriptures that touched us, and gave testimonies of what God was doing in our lives. We went outside and walked to a hill behind the dorm, laid down and looked up into the starlit sky and made commitments to God. I remember lying there praising God for what He had done for me. We praised, read the bible and we confessed our shortcomings.
I was touched by God's love for me as we sang worship songs of Jesus. That went on for about a half an hour when we decided to go back to our rooms for a good night's sleep. I had confessed all I could think of and asked forgiveness for the same. I was so enamored with God/Jesus/and the Holy Spirit that I found myself lying in bed, lifting my hands and praising the Lord. I felt clean and loved.
In our passage today, starting in verse one, we find David feeling, I believe, how I was feeling. He states in verse one, "Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name." Think back to a time you too had a "mountain top" experience with God or if you haven't ever had one, you might want to keep Psalm 103 in mind as you let all of your feelings and sins be raised up to God. Keep praying and praising Him until you have emptied all the negative things in your life. You will be forgiven and clean.
My hope for you is that you were successful in touching the hem of Jesus' garment and you walked away from the experience happy and secure in your faith in God. In my "renewal" experience with the Brethren church, they had a session called "Monday's Coming." We all have felt the great joy of a super worship service where the music was uplifting and the preacher was on top of his game. Maybe, like me, you had a contentment all Sunday afternoon, but "Monday's coming." We go back to work and perhaps when driving in someone cuts you off. Your super spiritual feelings go right out the window. We are human after all and as long as that is true on this side of Heaven, we will fail to live up to David's admonition in this Psalm. Psalm 103 finishes with the following uplifting verses: "The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west."
Some might say it is something that only happens in your youth or when you first became a Christian, but verse five tells us we can feel that way at any age. David tells says us in the fifth verse "My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!" God will honor your attempts to get closer to Him and you will be the better for it.
Dear Lord, I am still in awe how I feel during a moving service and how I feel close to you. Help us to reach back to our youthful years and renew us like the eagles and give us the knowledge of how much you love us. Thank-you for all you do for us. You too will have a peace that passes all understanding. Amen.