March 19, 2013

God is often unexpectedly good

By Mara Weaver, a senior history major from Bloomington, Ill.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 (NRSV)
DEVOTIONAL:

“Give thanks to the Lord, for God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever.” These words, the first two verses of Psalm 118, were the last thing I saw when I went to sleep and the first thing I saw when I woke up as a child. They quietly, patiently, hung on the wall at the foot of my bed in the form of a simple cross-stitch my grandma had given me.

In addition to the pure utility of this passage — being the only Bible verse I had memorized when I was in elementary school — this verse has also been a holy reminder to me for all these years. God is good, and we should not forget that. If nothing else, we must trust that God is good.

However, as I have grown, left my home and that small wall hanging, the lens through which I see God has also grown. Now, not only do I trust that God is good, but I know why I believe that.

The Psalm says, “The stone the builders rejected
 has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this,
 and it is marvelous in our eyes.” And how marvelous it is! Not only did God choose the rejected people of Israel in the Old Testament, but again and again God used that which was scoffed at by society to do the holiest of work — Mary, a woman both young and poor, wicked rulers, lowly shepherds, children, lepers and Jesus, who was himself a homeless, wandering, outspoken, dirty radical.

In this season of Lent, in the midst of all of the pain and suffering in our world, I give thanks to the Lord that our God acts in unexpected ways. Just as Jesus was shunned by the masses yet rose again and lives as our Cornerstone, I pray that those on the margins will be received by their oppressors as the cornerstone and help us all to rise again with a new love, new life and new understanding of what it means to do God’s work and live into God’s Beloved Community.

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 (NRSV)
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever!
Let Israel say,
‘His steadfast love endures for ever.’
Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvellous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God,
and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures for ever.

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Comments (12)

  1. How precious , that you remembered that simple cross-stitch at the foot of your bed as a child,to sustain your belief through life. She probably stitched it with her own loving hands and gave it to you as a gift. I am challenced to do such loving deeds for our 4 grandchildren.

    John Hackman March 19, 2013 |
  2. What a gift to you! Thanks for sharing it. Would that every child went to sleep and got wake with the affirmation that God is good and that God’s love is aiways available.

    Ruth March 19, 2013 |
  3. Thank you so much for these thoughts, Mara. A reminder which I badly needed this morning!

    Jeri Lake March 19, 2013 |
  4. During a recent tour of Israel, our guide frequently pointed out the importance of the cornerstone in a doorway. He reminded us that the builders rejected those awkward stones, only to find them necessary when completing the archway. As the tour continued, I took special notice of doorways and their capstones. There are many images of doors and gates in scripture, which have taken on a new meaning and understanding for me. “His steadfast loves endures forever.” Amen.

    Lil March 19, 2013 |
  5. Mara, how special to read your devotional today….God is indeed good, and over the years I have experienced that goodness many times by God working through your family–parents and siblings! I have so many fond memories of our time together at Menn. Ch. of Normal and small group. May God’s goodness continue to bless your life as you continue the journey.

    Sue Byler March 19, 2013 |
  6. Thank you, Mara, for sharing your experience with this verse. It is a marvelous reminder and I continue to give thanks for his goodness.

    Wilma Shank March 19, 2013 |
  7. Well said, Mara, a fine devotional. Let’s all so pray. We know this text as a fine Easter text as well..”God’s steadfast loves endures forever ! Best wishes with your studies ! Jim McKay.

    Jim & Lillian McKay March 19, 2013 |
  8. Thank , Mara for sharing your thoughts today. I am reminded of the scriptures my Mother often quoted. Today would have been her birthday. This was one of her favorites.

    Mary K. Mishler March 19, 2013 |
  9. What a beautiful message to read this evening at the end of a long day. I usually read them in the morning, but had to hit the floor running today. Thanks for this great evening song!

    Diana Thomas March 19, 2013 |
  10. thank you mara for powerful and thoughtful words

    Frances March 19, 2013 |
  11. Yes, dear Mara, God is indeed the God of surprises! Would you ever imagine that apart from sending his prophets he would send his VERY OWN SON? After so many years of knowing the Lord (I’m 79 now) I still ask him, “How did you think it all out, how did you do it…”? Marvelous God of the unexpected; unimaginable love.
    Easter Blessings, Mara.
    Mervyn Carapiet

    Mervyn Carapiet March 20, 2013 |
  12. Thank you for sharing your story Mara. The words were just what I needed to hear this morning. It was uplifting and humbling reminding us that god is the one with the power. He is the one we should go to for our needs.
    All the best
    Elizabeth Ovid

    Elizabeth Ovid March 21, 2013 |