The day my mom was diagnosed with cancer, the world seemed to close in. My husband had recently deployed, and our family was still settling into our first overseas assignment.
The fear and grief of the moment threatened to overwhelm, and it all felt like too much at once.
To be honest, the last thing on my mind was the words of Psalm 103:
In the face of bad news, God’s benefits seemed out of reach to my grieving heart. And yet, isn’t it the hard days when we most desperately need to remember the certainty of God’s benefits?
In the push and pull of military life, we live a consistent cycle of transition. We focus on the demands and concerns that fill up the calendar and keep us awake at night.
Whether you wear a military uniform, or support a loved one who serves, you know the operational tempo of military life can bleed your soul dry at times. We have experienced the bone-deep weariness of too much heartache, too many problems, and too little faith.
Psalm 103 is a pep talk for the weary soul.
Read these words with conviction,
Bless the Lord, oh my soul.
This address brings us in close. Cutting through the small talk and the distractions of the day, this is soul talk, Sisters.
And soul talk matters.
Too often we neglect the whisperings of our souls, nudging us to take care of what is deepest within us.
All that is within me, bless His holy name.
Undistracted and undivided—all that is within. Nothing held back, nothing hidden. I am motivated by David’s example, as he gives it all to God, rather than holding back until he can get it together and do it all right.
This all within is what is at our core—our hopes and dreams, fears and frustrations. The messy and the beautiful.
Take it all and choose to bless His holy name.
To bless is to kneel, adore, salute, and celebrate. In the military, saluting is an important show of respect and honor for a superior. It is also a salutation and a greeting.
Our soul blessing comes when we take our attention off ourselves and put it on God. Blessing God shifts our perspective…
- From our lack to his provision.
- From our need to his help.
- From our grief to His comfort.
Soul, forget none of His benefits.
This forgetting has to do with more than mere physical memory. To forget includes these concepts: to ignore, to wither, and to cease to care.
What is forgotten withers like dried grapes on a dead branch.
Remembering waters faith with life and energy.
Remembering is a way of receiving.
Soul, remember what God has done.
No wonder David doesn’t want us to forget God’s benefits.
When we read through the benefits listed in this Psalm, one thing becomes clear:
It is all about what God is doing.
When I forget God’s benefits, I weary my soul by working hard…
- To excuse my sin.
- To heal or fix myself.
- To get myself out of that pit.
- To prove my worth.
- To crown myself.
- To satisfy myself.
This self seeking drains me of energy, leaving me worn out, gasping for breath in a demanding and dangerous world.
Did you remember your ID?
Consider the privileges that are yours because you carry a military ID. You have the right to enter military bases, receive medical care, and shop at the commissary.
It is possible to have a military ID but not take advantage of the benefits of military life. We remember to take our ID with us at all times. Remembering our ID give us access to our benefits.
Military Sister, it is the same with God’s grace for your soul. His benefits are available, but we miss out on some of the blessing if we forget, ignore, or are careless about appreciating and living out of the gifts of God.
Why do we need reminders?
Because it is so very easy to forget.
So on the good days, bless the Lord, oh my soul.
On the hard days, bless the Lord, oh my soul.
And every day in between, bless the Lord, oh my soul.
Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget none,
no not one,
of His benefits.
For more pep talks for your soul, join Ginger Harrington, at GingerHarrington.com, an award-winning blog. Enjoy Ginger’s ebook devotional: 50 Scriptures to Combat Negative Thinking, available for subscribers to her blog. Ginger loves serving as social media and publishing coordinator for Planting Roots. A popular speaker, she has also written military themed posts for Guideposts Military Blog and (in)courage. Ginger and her retired Marine husband have enjoyed twenty-four years of military life and are parents to three young adults.