1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
2 sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!
3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
4 All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you;
they sing praises to your name.” Selah
5 Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
6 He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
7 who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah
8 Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
9 who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.
10 For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11 You brought us into the net;
you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
12 you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.
She smiled that day. It was not a smile which would win any awards. A lack of orthodontia was evident, but it was a radiant and beautiful smile. Her face wore the lines of many worries, but today they lifted from her. She had been in my NT class, a little older woman. I would put her at about 45. She spoke of grown children. She had lived a very hard life. I enjoyed having her in class. Sometimes freshmen and sophomores in college do not have enough experience to process the texts we are studying. She had a wealth of experience and a willingness to share. But I also loved having her in class because she was clearly devouring this reading of the New Testament. She could not get enough. She was asking questions about what this meant for her, for her life, and for her relationship with God.
We met with Pastor Bo Baumeister, the campus pastor. Yes, she was wanted to be baptized. She had been caught up in the Jehovah’s Witness. In a couple of months, I was there to see that smile. For the next several semesters as she completed her work at Concordia, we would cross paths between the buildings. She always had that smile for me and something loud and boisterous to say. She was just that sort of a person. I have lost touch with her. I wonder how she is doing. I am glad Jesus has never lost touch with her and he is her Good Shepherd.
The psalmist today urges all creation to join him in praising God. He urges the reader to come and see what God has done. We have crossed the sea and the river on foot, references to the days of the Exodus when they crossed the Red Sea and the Jordan river by miraculous passages on dry ground. The psalmist is pretty real about all this. God has laid crushing burdens on our backs. Men have ridden over us with chariots and horses. We went through fire and water. But God brought us out to a place of abundance. I saw a bit of a that joy in her smile that day as Bo splashed the water on her head. I look forward to sharing it in full when Jesus comes again.