reversals of fortune (Psalm 107)

Rembrandt, “The storm on the Lake of Galilee”

Oil on canvas; 159.5 x 127.5 cm; c. 1633
Boston, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
The story of the gospel is one of creation, fall, reconciliation, and redemption. Those of us who have put our faith in Christ to reconcile us to God and redeem our lives are now the “redeemed of the Lord” (v2). We have already been redeemed from every foe that will ever confront us, even though we do not yet experience the full reality of this on this side of heaven.
This Psalm celebrates Israel’s return from Babylonian exile. There was a time when it seemed that would forever be impossible. It seemed that all was lost. But it wasn’t, and isn’t.
I was once asked by a woman’s daughter to bring an envelope back to her mother when I returned from a trip to Irkutsk, Siberia. When this mother opened the door to her flat, it was immediately obvious she was destitute. No wallpaper, no furniture, save for a small kitchen table, one chair, and a 3-day old remnant of a loaf of bread. I handed her the envelope. She opened it, a tear came down her eye, and she said, “Do you realize this is the third time in my life that I’ve been completely without any money, and each time, the Lord has sent someone to me that very day.”
The Lord said to me on my way out of her building, “I know you care. I know your heart breaks over what you too often see. Yet please understand that I am doing many things you know nothing about. I just wanted to give you this glimpse today so that you know that I care even more than you do, and so that you can relax.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, and his love does indeed endure forever. Rest in this, even as you serve with all of your might.

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