Responding to God’s Grace
I love the Lord, because he has heard
my voice and my supplications. Psalm 116:1
Being heard, being understood is a fundamental human need. When someone really listens to us and assists us in our struggles, it can be transformative. Here the psalmist thanks and praises God for doing just that. When I needed God I called out to him and he listened to me. He heard my prayer! He saved me!
It’s not surprising that this salvation journey also includes hardship or uncertainty, something we all experience. In the middle of the psalm, the writer talks about being distressed, anguished, and even facing death. The heading in the NRSV translation identifies this psalm as a “Thanksgiving for Recovery from Illness.”
I know for myself when God extends mercy and healing, I am thankful. However, I quickly take it for granted and allow the transformation to fade until the same need or a new challenge arises and I need God’s help once again.
But what should our response be? The psalmist says that because of the grace extended to me by God, I will call on him as long as I live, I will praise him and keep my vows. When God hears our prayers and saves us from whatever mess we’re in, he hopes our response will be to pray in abundance, share the good news, remain faithful, and be thankful.
In the early 2000s the rock band U2 was on a two-year global tour. Each night the lead singer Bono would recite Psalm 116 from the stage before launching into U2’s own spiritual anthem “Where the Streets Have No Name.” What if we stood on stage every night and belted out a psalm of thanksgiving? How would we and our relationship with God be transformed?
Lord God, thank you for listening to us when we pray and for saving us. May we never tire of thanking you. Amen.