Recently after returning from a trip, I couldn’t find my car. It was lost. I was left feeling like the car had disappeared into thin air. It was late, I was tired from my trip, and I couldn’t quite remember where I had parked my car at the airport. Usually I park in the same section whenever I park my car at the airport, but this time I chose a different area to leave my car. It didn’t pay off too well. I forgot where I had parked.
Like any modern-day person, I began hitting the buttons on my key hoping that I would trigger sounds or hoping that my car lights would illuminate. After five minutes of anxiously searching in the dark, I finally found my car. And as it goes so often when we lose things, what I lost was practically right in front of my face. If I had opened my eyes and perhaps slowed down or taken a deep breath, I would have seen it and saved myself the worried searching.
In some ways, I can see a similar tendency in my heart when I’m discouraged. In those moments, there’s something I’ve forgotten. I go searching, but sometimes I search in the wrong location. Or in my resulting anxiety and busyness, I can try to find solutions outside of those that actually provide true rest and satisfaction. What I need to do instead is remember the Lord—to pause, take a deep breath, and remember. King David must have wrestled similarly. In the first few verses of Psalm 103, we are taught how to remember the Lord.
David tells his soul to bless the Lord (v. 1). To bless the Lord is to sing of His praises. We aren’t merely to read about God—our souls need to praise Him, thank Him, and exult in Him. We need to remind our souls daily to delight in the Lord. Any relationship that is of value takes intentionality. And so we must be intentional in our relationship with the Lord as well. As with any relationship, this means we need to remind ourselves why we delight in and enjoy God. We need to “forget not all his benefits” (v. 2).
This call to bless the Lord isn’t for just our mouth, but it engages all of us— “all that is within me” (v. 1). David’s worship in this psalm reminds me of the Bible’s command for us to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Nothing is left unaffected by our Lord. We are to love Him with everything that is within us. Every part of us ought to bless the Lord. He is holy and deserves our full attention and admiration. So with intentionality, we remind our souls, our hearts, and our minds to bless His holy name with all our strength.
David also preaches to his soul not to forget the Lord’s benefits. This reminder, of course, is not only for times of discouragement and sorrow. Regardless of the season of life that we’re in, we should always remember the work of the Lord on our behalf. When we are discouraged, there is a temptation to forget the goodness of the Lord. In those times of temptation, we must remind ourselves of all that He has done. But I think we are actually most tempted to forget the benefits of the Lord when we are experiencing prosperity or abundance. We can easily forget God and His goodness when we think we have all we need—forgetting that we can do nothing apart from the Lord (John 15:5). Let’s resist the urge to remember the Lord only when times feel desperate.
So, what are a few things we are prone to forget in our discouragement and need to remember and meditate on from these verses?
First, praise the Lord that He forgives all of our iniquity (Ps. 103:3). He doesn’t forgive in part; He forgives completely. Every sinful thought and deed has been atoned for on the cross of Christ. We don’t deserve His forgiveness; we sent Him to the cross. Oh, that this truth might send us singing blessings to the Lord! Jesus paid the price we could not pay. And, in His mercy and grace, He says to us who have placed our faith and trust in Him that our sins are forgiven.
Second, Jesus’ death and resurrection defeated death. So much of our discouragement and worry come as a result of our failing or difficult health or empathizing with the bodily pains of a friend or loved one. But one day, every disease will be healed. No more sickness. No more pain. No more arthritis. No more cancer. The diseases that have plagued us since the fall of man will be eradicated. What an awesome benefit of the Lord. When we are weary of sickness, it’s good to remind our souls that one day, all that is within us will be healed.
And finally, it is good to remind our souls of our salvation. No matter our story, whether we were saved as young children or while steeped in sin, God redeemed our lives from the pit. We were helpless and dead in our sins whether we realized it or not. We were hell-bound without the Lord’s intervention. The radical transformation in our hearts means we have been transformed by amazing mercy and grace. He crowns us with His steadfast—never changing, everlasting—love and mercy.