Psalm 103: 2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—
Think of the power God has. Yet he refrains from imposing his power on us. It’s not his way. God doesn’t overpower, manipulate or control. He doesn’t pull “people-things” like guilt trips, emotional blackmail, or threats. His character is so strong, he refrains from exercising the power he possesses, even though the use of his might would accomplish his will.
He permits us to determine who we want, and what we want, with the free wills we’re granted.
He welcomes us to friendship. He doesn’t demand it, force it, or threaten to make things bad for us if we decline. He doesn’t trick us into relationship. His ways aren’t built on obligation or guilt, but on our freedom to accept or decline.
Be with him if we want. Don’t if we don’t want.
If we do choose his companionship, we soon learn he is beyond compare. These things are true of him; he who —
3 forgives all our sins and heals all our diseases, 4 who redeems our lives from the pit and crowns us with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies our desires with good things so that our youths are renewed like the eagle’s.
The more we accept and delve into relationship with him, the sweeter our harmony. While settling into ever-deepening unity, we find that our faith, wisdom, abilities and potentials steadily increase. Where there is lack, he brings plenty. Where there is insecurity, he brings confidence. Where there is fear, he brings peace.
6 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
Where there is captivity, he sets us free. Where there is deception or confusion, he becomes the solid rock of truth on which to stand.
He sets the tone of the relationship, always creating an atmosphere of growth. If we require discipline or purification, he subjects us to it for our improvement. If we need mercy and encouragement, he gives that, too. If we need courage and strength, it is made available. Relationship with God is a fertile field in which he plants, waters, and nurtures — always for our betterment.
Yet, all the while his benefits include our ongoing free will. He gives us choice each and every day. Be with him if we want. Don’t if we don’t want. Let him lead us to betterment. Or not. This freedom he’s given us is evidence of yet another of his incomparable benefits —
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love.