What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me? (Ps. 116:12)
“It’s very hard to be grateful and sour at the same time,” said a seventy-nine-year-old friend of mine. Aging is hard work, yet some people seem to be able to grow old with their sense of wonder intact. Even as we face death (both in our relational circles and the real possibility of our own), some older sages of the faith see more and more for which to be grateful.
The psalmist encapsulates the sentiments of the grateful heart by surveying life and praying by wondering aloud, “What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me?” This kind of wonder, raw thankfulness, and desire to respond reflects a heart turned toward God’s goodness. Knowing God’s heart, the psalmist imagines an appropriate response, which is to give God praise and thanks, calling on the name of the Lord, and to fulfill vows made to the Lord. The psalmist reminds us that among the most worshipful things we can do in relationship with God is simply to keep our word.
That combination of characteristics—gratitude, praise, and follow-through—appears often in people who sustain a vibrant connection with God even as they age, face loss, and encounter seasons of adversity. Consider: What promises have you made? Where is gratitude emerging? What is inspiring wonder? Who has taught you to age into obedience? How have you thanked them lately?
Call on God’s name and give him thanks!
Ethan Linder is the pastor of collegians and young adults at College Wesleyan Church (IN) and contributing editor for Education & Clergy Development of The Wesleyan Church.
© 2022 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.