“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5)
Forget not all His benefits…
God is so good. His abundance to us is extravagant. I suppose one’s perception of this begins in the heart. The place (God’s) from where the blessings begin. Love, joy, peace. If you have any of these (just those three things), you’re more receptive than 83% of the population. Actually, I just made that up. I couldn’t tell you the percentile resident in the hearts and minds of the people you see (including you), because God is extravagant, you understand.
“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45)
I hear that last line quoted oft. While it doesn’t lose its truth, it quite possibly has developed the patina of platitude. Again, doesn’t make it any less true–when seen through the lens of the Holy Spirit. What I mean is, go out running tomorrow morning. It’s mid-Fall (my favorite time of year) and brisk. Don’t forget the light jacket and shoes you bought on sale. Ooh! Stretch. That’s good. Okay. Firstly, do you even like to run? The other day, I went out and took a right when normally I go left. Down a slight incline on the way to a neighborhood I don’t usually frequent. While I momentarily regretted my choice as I saw the school nearby was getting ready to begin, buses and SUVs going this way and that, the reward was soon realized. Huffing and puffing, I thought about how I have all the air I could want–but this wasn’t it. It was necessary. Essential. Freely given. Like the blood in my veins. Gulping it down even as I slowed my pace. I love to run. Toward the end of the long, porpoising street, off which sub-neighborhoods branch out like capillaries, there’s a sharp right and then a straight-up forty-five degree grade to the top of a small mountain. Run up it. Breathe. Which I did. I sat at the top and watched my breath mingle with the steam from my head, the sun rising in the distance. At this point, I wasn’t thinking about being “just” or “unjust” or what-have-you. I was just grateful. Thankful for the pain and and the cold and the light. One thing about running in the cold weather is you heat up fast. But you had better keep moving or else you’ll cool down to uncomfortability. But even this is a gift. And I didn’t even mention the leaves.
Running, for me, is about focus. I do it because I enjoy it and also because it helps to maintain a baseline look at the rest of life from these elemental gifts. What do you need? You’ve already got it.