“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1 NLT)
I met him on an informational walk on the Foothills Trail. He had thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, all 2190+ miles of it from Maine to Georgia, USA, within a twelve-month period.
Meeting and talking with a thru-hiker was exciting. As he talked about his adventure, he related the only time when he had to leave the trail. He had come upon a trail shelter where trail angels had left fresh fruit in a nearby stream. Without thinking, he had lunged into an apple without washing it off in filtered water. He soon found himself suffering from giardiasis (or beaver fever), a diarrheal disease caused by the microscopic parasite Giardia in the water. He was sidelined from the trail for a few days of misery.
I’ve never drunk water from creeks, lakes, or streams without filtering it first. Spending the money required for a dependable filtering source is worth the effort; so, too, is making sure that the filter is replaced or cleaned regularly.
Filtering life’s experiences isn’t quite as easy as filtering water. With water, all that I must do is to place the filter in the water source and then pump. What comes into my drinking canister is at least 99% pure. The chances that I’ll be infected are slim. Not so with filtering life. Life’s experiences vary in intensity and probability, and advice on how to face them is plentiful. In today’s psalm, the writer ended everything that he stated about God with the refrain, “His faithful love endures forever.” This is my dependable filtering system. Whatever comes my way, I can rest assured that God’s faithful love for me endures forever.
God’s love isn’t filtered through our behaviour. If it were, most wouldn’t experience it regularly. His love is filtered through His nature — which is love. While His nature also encompasses holiness — which can involve His divine wrath — His nature is to love His creations, both good and bad.
God’s Word is the only reliable filtering source. Other sources may or may not allow in bacteria that could taint how I respond to a particular life experience. As the psalmist used God’s revealed Word throughout his life’s journey to filter his experiences, so we, too, can find there a source of instruction and encouragement to help us to filter life. When filtered through God’s Word, unpleasant life experiences will lose the potential to infect us with bitterness, anger, confusion, unbelief, and doubt.
Let’s change our perspective on life experiences by filtering them through God’s Word.
Prayer: Father, when difficulties come our way, lead us to filter them through the teachings of Your Word. Amen.
Copyright © 2022, by Martin Wiles <firstname.lastname@example.org>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional presbycan.ca .
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA
Reprinted from PresbyCan with author’s permission