Familiar words, distant thoughts

Posted on · Posted in Godward Orientation

Psalm 73 tells you that the nearness of God is your good, or how good it is to be near God! These are familiar words. No doubt, they often bring an “amen” when they are read or spoken. However, how deeply do these words take root in your heart? How often do difficult circumstances and events drive these words far away from your mind? Do these familiar words bring joy to your soul or do you wait to use them as platitudes when times are rough?

What the psalmist describes in this Psalm is the conflict of faith and experience that is common to all of us as God’s people. You believe in God’s goodness, but your experience is marinated with the bitterness of a world that lives for itself and appears to be successful in mocking God.

Your children sense this conflict and are confronted with this same issue. They need more than platitudes to flourish in our culture’s hostile environment. They need to see joy instead of resignation. They need to see confidence instead of cynicism. They need to see parents whose hopes are not dependent upon election results or having life’s circumstances be their source of happiness.

For your faith to be sustained and vibrant the wonder of God’s nearness to you must dominate your thoughts, your words, your actions. Learn from the Psalmist. When he was bitter and “torn up inside” he had moved away from his God; he was foolish and ignorant. If your thoughts entertain bitterness, if you are torn up inside, turn again to the wonder of God’s nearness to you.

God’s nearness is your constant good. Instead of the resignation that flows from conformity to the culture, rejoice and be transformed by the nearness of your God!

Bring these familiar words near to your heart. They are your good.

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.