A person injured in an auto accident some years ago, which considerably changed her life, shared with me one of her helpful daily secrets. Once she was able to do things with little thought; now real effort and deliberation are required. Some days discouragement stalks her shadow and tries to imprison her mind. The secret she shared enables her to live each day to the fullest. Her secret is as current today and as old as the Psalms of the Bible: "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." Ps. 118:24.
I also find this short simple verse to be utterly profound. It helps me to realize where I am now. This is today. Sometimes it is easy to dwell in the past, as if somehow it could be relived and replayed. The fact is the past is gone for us. Nothing we can do will resurrect it. If we attempt to live in the past we deny the present and cannot be fully alive in it.
In a similar way this verse speaks to the future. Tomorrow never becomes today. It is like a tantalizing carrot at the end of the stick. It's always just ahead of us. If we attempt to live tomorrow while it is yet today, we are missing out on the joys of this day which God has graciously given.
Yet the Psalmist takes us one step further: "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." Rejoicing and gladness liberate us. They unlock the prison of self-pity and set us free. They release energy allowing us to better enjoy the day. This rejoicing is to be centered in the One Who gives us the day: the Lord, the Creator, the Savior and the Sustainer.
While visiting with a couple well into their 80's, their family long-grown, their health gradually declining, with pain a part of each day, I asked the question: "What has been the best season in the span of your lives?" With hardly any hesitation they replied, "Right now." Today is a gift God has given us; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Paul D. Beran is the pastor at Resurrection Lutheran Church.