Praise God in his mighty acts! Praise God as suits his incredible greatness!…Let every living thing praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! – Psalm 150:2,6
Probably most of us wish we could have a mulligan, a do-over, for 2020. COVID-19. Racism. Bitter politics. National division. Shaky economy.
Other than that, it’s been a great year.
We don’t know when the psalmist wrote Psalm 150. It could have been during one of those rare times when Israel lived in peace. More likely, though, it was during a pandemic-like period stemming from things like famine or imminent war.
Regardless, and unconditionally, this last Hebrew song says we need to “halal” God. That’s the root of hallelujah, meaning to boast loudly of what Yahweh has done. Let there be no expense spared in doing so. Crank up the whole band, reflecting the seven instruments the psalmist lists between verses two and six.
I don’t think this songwriter was an overly optimistic type, nor was he the delusionally put-on-a-happy face type. Rather, he was the faithfully realistic type. He knew that enduring happiness rests not in having your dreams come true or in having a stress-free lifestyle. Rather, it comes from having the grace to regularly take stock of God’s “mighty acts.”
What are those mighty acts?
Creating you in your mother’s womb? Breathing life into your lungs? Giving you an amazing miracle-machine body? Surrounding you with the awesome beauty of maples, jonquils, cardinals, fox squirrels, Milky Ways? Providing a mother’s touch, a lover’s embrace, a friend’s laughter?
Maybe happiness resides in the ability to see things in context and within a broader timeline and picture. We’re each given a brief chance to live in an awe-struck world. Given is the operative word. Nothing earned by us.
Even in a pandemic we can boast of God’s mighty acts.
Which come to mind for you?