by Beverly Brown, Set Me Free Ministries Prayer Coordinator
This morning I was reading Psalm 66. When I read verse 12, I immediately thought of the James Taylor song from the 1970s, "Fire and Rain."
I've seen fire and I've seen rain. I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend.
But I always thought that I'd see you again.
Won't you look down upon me, Jesus? You've got to help me make a stand.
You've got to see me through another day.
My body's aching and my time is at hand and I won't make it any other way.
Now read Psalm 66:12 with me: "You sent troops to ride across our broken bodies, we went through fire and flood. But you brought us to a place of great abundance."
As I thought about the song and the scripture, I wondered if James Taylor had ever read this Psalm and if it had an impact on him, so I did a little research on his life. There was no indication that he was familiar with the words of the psalmist, and there is every indication that he was and continues to be an agnostic despite the reference to Jesus. Yet, he was certainly familiar with the thoughts behind Psalm 66. Why? Because every one of us goes through those times of fire and rain, pain and loss. It is what we do with those difficult times that makes all the difference in the world.
Taylor's song ends on a melancholy note that gives us little hope. We go through fire and rain, we have loss and illness, and in the end, there are just "sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground."
Is that all we can hope for? No it isn't, because with God there is good news! Jeremiah 29:11 encourages us with this: "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you future and hope." And the last sentence of Psalm 66:12 says: "But you brought us to a place of great abundance."
Despite, the difficulties that this life brings—fire, rain, floods, loss, physical pain, or suffering—God is a good God. His desire is to give us a future and a hope when we trust in Him.
After all, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
(Romans 8:35-39; NKJV)