“Nevertheless”

fresh green grass with bright blue sky

“Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.” Psalm 73:23-24

Nevertheless. What a word! What a thought! What a truth this verse contains!

Asaph’s Struggle

The psalmist, Asaph, has just explained how he was embittered in his soul and acting in a brutish manner, like a beast, before God (v. 21-22). He was doubting God’s Sovereignty and God’s wisdom, complaining in the bitterness of his soul (v. 13-14) and envious when he saw the prosperity of those who were not serving the Lord (v. 2-3).

Asaph had doubted God’s care and God’s control over the universe, and he had questioned God’s care and love for him personally.

God, in His mercy, opened the psalmist’s eyes toward the truths of His Sovereignty and final justice, and He gave the psalmist understanding and wisdom to discern the final end (v. 17-20).

After spending time in the sanctuary of God and receiving this fresh insight and perspective on life, Asaph was convicted of his sin. He was convinced of his pride and arrogance, his unbelief and sinful complaints (v. 21-22). He had doubted God’s love, doubted God’s control, doubted God’s care, and questioned His wisdom and power and rule over the universe.

In essence, Asaph had thought he could do a better job than God in ruling the universe with equity and justice. What an offense toward God!

And then we come to this one glorious word:

“Nevertheless”

    “Nevertheless, I am continually with you.”

    “Nevertheless, you hold my right hand.”

    “Nevertheless, you guide me with your counsel.”

    “Nevertheless, you will receive me to glory.”

What an ocean of grace is found in this one little word: nevertheless! I want to bathe my heart in it this evening! I want to enjoy every gentle wave of mercy it brings.

God’s love to me meets me right where I am. In the midst of all my sin and doubt, pride, selfishness, and complaining heart, I heard the Savior say, “Nevertheless, I am with you.” “Nevertheless, I forgive you.” “Nevertheless, I will guide you.” “Nevertheless, I will take you to eternal pleasures at my right hand.”

    “Never-the-less.”

Take heart, dear believer. If you are in Christ, this is the banner that hangs over your life, even in the midst of your fallenness and sin.

“Nevertheless, I am with you and I receive you.”

What a word! What a truth! What a Savior is Jesus, the Christ!

Monday Mundane: Encouragement for Moms

Blowing Foam -Fun In The Kitchen

I can hear the vacuum cleaner running in the downstairs hallway, even as I make my preparations to enter the day. My wife is doing her regular Monday cleaning after a fun-filled weekend with the family.

Another Monday has arrived.

Another week has begun.

Another mess is being cleaned up.

Finding Meaning In the Mundane

My wife spends much of her time taking care of messes that other people have made. Among the 6 individuals in our household, I am convinced that she contributes the least to all of the messes in our home. Yet, she does the majority of the clean-up work.

Mondays must feel quite mundane at times for my wife and for many moms. On the other hand, if we look closely enough at the stuff of normal, everyday life, there is so much significance.

Young children don’t clothe themselves, dishes don’t magically arrive clean in the cupboard, spills don’t get wiped up on their own, the laundry baskets don’t empty themselves, and food doesn’t just appear fully-prepared on a plate.

Somebody has to clean up the mess; someone who is a lot like Jesus.

The Heart of God In the Soul of a Mom

When I see my wife hard at work, I see Jesus.

When she is cleaning dishes she didn’t use, washing clothes she didn’t wear, and picking up toys she obviously didn’t play with, I’m reminded of the heart of God. I’m reminded of my Savior. I see Jesus in her.

Here’s the amazing reality of the gospel:

Jesus came into this world to clean up a mess he didn’t make.

Though he had never sinned, (1 Tim. 1:15) Jesus came into this world to save sinners (Hebrews 4:15).

He didn’t come to be served. He came to serve. He came to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

It was sacrificial love. It was self-giving love.

Jesus’ love is a lot like what I see in my wife, the mom of 4 wonderfully-messy kids and, many times, a selfish husband.

Who takes care of the sick in our household? Mom does.

Who comforts the kids when they get hurt? Mom does.

Who cleans up the messes she doesn’t make? Mom does.

And so does Jesus. The gospel is such good news, and it brings so much meaning into even the most mundane moments of everyday life!

Weary Mom, the next time you feel overwhelmed by the mountain of messes surrounding you, remember Jesus Christ. He’s right there with you, providing meaning in the midst of the mundane. And you don’t have to look very far to see a glimpse of the love of Christ.

Just look in the mirror.

Thank you, Moms, for helping the rest of us see more of Jesus.

The Only Way to Really Be Happy

iStock_000006218537The Way to Be Happy

On Fridays, I’ve decided to post quotes from some of my favorite authors as a way for me to review golden nuggets of truth and keep them in the forefront of my own heart and mind throughout the year.

I also hope it serves you, as a reader of RevivingTheSoul in offering comfort, encouragement, and strength for your own journey in the ups and downs of life on this side of heaven.

The first quote in my Friday favorites is from JC Ryle, a 19th Century Anglican pastor whose writings have greatly served my soul:

“The only way to be really happy in such a world as this, is to be ever casting all our cares on God. It is trying to carry their own burdens which so often makes believers sad. If they will tell their troubles to God, he will enable them to bear them as easily as Samson did the gates of Gaza. If they are resolved to keep them to themselves, they will find one day that the very grasshopper is a burden.

There is a friend ever waiting to help us, if we will unbosom to him our sorrow – a friend who pitied the poor and sick and sorrowful, when he was upon the earth – a friend who knows the heart of man, for he lived thirty-three years as a man among us – a friend who can weep with the weepers, for he was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief – a friend who is able to help us, for there never was earthly pain he could not cure. That friend is Jesus Christ. The way to be happy is to be always opening our hearts to him. Oh that we were all like that poor Christian who only answered, when threatened and punished, ‘I must tell the Lord.’

Jesus can make those happy who trust him and call on him, whatever be their outward condition. He can give them peace of heart in a prison, contentment in the midst of poverty, comfort in the midst of bereavements, joy on the brink of the grave. There is a mighty fullness in him for all his believing members – a fullness that is ready to be poured out on every one that will ask in prayer. Oh that men would understand that happiness does not depend on outward circumstances, but on the state of the heart.” A Call to Prayer, p. 23-24

Hopefully, now you can see why JC Ryle is one of my favorite authors.

Over the years, my heart has been strangely warmed by his company and directed again-and-again to my Savior, Jesus Christ, and the good news we have in the gospel of his grace.

May we all open our hearts to him and enjoy what it’s like to be really happy in such a world as this!

For more of JC Ryle, you can read my post A Never-Failing Passport for Our Prayers. You are also invited to sign up for the RevivingTheSoul email newsletter through the link below so you don’t miss any posts.