I walked through the revolving doors of the Hopitaux Universitaires de Geneve (HUG) with a spring in my step.
Full of life. Full of energy. Full of joy.
Then I saw him. He was sitting on the grey metal chair by the door of the café. In a glance, I took note of the details. He was dressed in the hospital light floral gown. He had a nasal tube connected to the oxygen bottle on the floor between his feet. I recognized the fatigue on his face and the arching shoulders due to the labour of breathing.
Images flashed through my mind. For seven years I carried a similar oxygen bottle. I could not count the number of times I sat on the same chair exhausted from the labour of breathing, waiting for my husband to bring the car close to the door. I saw the many times I passed through the same revolving door, every step was an effort, with the oxygen bottle hanging on my shoulders.
My heart was overwhelmed with memory of the goodness of God.
The storm has passed. The heavy dark clouds have been lifted. The sun is shining bright in the sky.
I have been captivated by Psalm 145 for the past three months. The intensity of David’s praise flooded my heart as I pondered on this event days after.
David declared in verse 7 that everyone will abundantly utter the memory of God’s goodness. They will share the story of God’s wonderful goodness.
Charles Spurgeon in his sermon in 1879 said, “we shall be helped to abundant praise by careful observation." In order for us to have a memory of God’s goodness, and then abundantly utter it in exhilarating praise, we must first of all make an observation of it.
“A man does not remember what he never knew” – Charles Spurgeon.
The proportion to which a fact or a truth makes an impression on our minds is the proportion to which it is likely to abide in our memory. And what we meditate on for long enough becomes the reality of our lives. The question therefore is this;
Is the goodness of God daily making an impression on our minds?
If we want to remember the goodness of God, we must let it strike us. We must take notice of it. We must consider it. We must ponder on it. We must meditate on it. We must let its full influence be exerted on our hearts.
The sight of the man on supplemental oxygen struck me as I walked into the hospital that day for my routine check-up. I took notice of the man’s situation. I remembered that I was once in a similar situation for many years. I paused and pondered on the amazing goodness of God which brought the change to my life.
Our acknowledgement of the goodness and mercies of God will become vocal and exuberant when we have it imprinted on our memory. It is from the memory of His rich goodness to us that praises will gush from our mouths like torrential water flowing through a stream. Heated by our fervency, our praises to God distils into vapour that rises up to heaven.
“So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open,
drinking in Your strength and glory.
In Your generous love I am really living at last!
My lips brim with praises like fountains.
I bless You every time I take a breath;
My arms wave like banners of praise You.”
(Psalm 63: 2-4)
We can never praise God enough or too much because there are no limits to the outpouring of His goodness upon our lives.
There is no denying that God is good to all. Everything He does is suffused with grace. His tender mercies and compassion are over every single one of us created in His image—you and me inclusive. Evidences abound of God's rich goodness and mercies to each of us every moment of each day. If we pause and make take note of them, they become committed to our memory from whence they will ignite an eruption of abundant praise to God.
But many times we are blinded to God’s abounding grace and kindness to us. This is because our vision become blurred as we focus on the challenges we are facing, the storms raging and whirling around us, and the heavy dark clouds that are looming over us.
Often we forget that in the midst of each storm, God is present there with us to hold us steady as a post. Often we forget that no matter how grey, dark and heavy the looming clouds may be, the sun is still shining high above the clouds. So also is God’s love and kindness still radiating its warmth to us in the midst of the challenges and difficulties we are going through.
God always does what is right not what we want. He is always on time, not a minute early, not a second late. There is nothing we need that God cannot provide according to His will, in His own time and in His own way. He clothes the wildflowers of the valley and feeds the birds in the air. I am far more valuable that these. If this be the case, then I have no reason to be anxious or allow myself to be downcast or morose. I can be joyful in the knowledge of God’s unfailing goodness even when it may seem that it is not evident. So can you, because you count more to God than lilies and sparrows. You can abandon yourself in His loving care.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28)
The ability to make a deliberate effort to take note of, observe, focus and ponder on the goodness of God is a learned behaviour. You learn to do it. You commit to doing it.
Whenever the storms are raging, remember His constant presence and His promise never to leave you alone or forsake you. Whenever the clouds are heavy and dark, lift your eyes up to an altitude where you will see the sun is shining above the clouds. Let the brightness that sun illuminate the goodness of God in your life so that you can observe and take note of it. Make an inventory of the goodness of God in your life each day, and let the recollection of His acts of wonder imprinted in your memory ignite an abundant praise to God right there in the midst of the challenges—because God is good ALL the time.
As 2014 rolls to an end, I encourage you through the course of each day to pause, observe, and ponder on the many rich blessings being poured into your life. I challenge you to seek every opportunity to praise and magnify the name of the Infinite God without limit. Make a joyful noise of thanksgiving.
May the praise and adoration of our ever-faithful God flow continually from your mouth.