Walking with Christ in a moment-by-glorious-moment relationship provides benefits that go far beyond anything this world has to offer. Psalm 103 describes some of the benefits we can expect. It begins, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits" (Ps. 103:1-2, ESV).
In the stresses of daily life, it's important to take a break and think about all the benefits of belonging to Christ—all the blessings and the sometimes-forgotten enrichment that God provides for his children.
Verse 3 says that he forgives all our iniquities. As a person who came to Christ early in life (at age four), I did not have time to amass a great number of the more obvious sins. Basically, I accepted Christ out of love for him rather than a need for change and repentance.
Yet my innate nature is sinful, and my life after salvation has certainly been pitted with sins. So each night, I bless the Lord and ask him to forgive the iniquities of the day—the sins of rebellion that I insisted on and the more subtle sins that I've accepted from my culture: gossip, a critical spirit, gluttony of worldly goods. Every night, God is faithful and just to forgive my sins and to gift me again with his righteousness. He provides me with the power of the Holy Spirit so that my life does not have to continue in its sinful patterns.
Another benefit we can depend on is the healing of our diseases (v. 3b). Although God sometimes heals in different ways than we've asked for and on a different timetable, he does heal. One of his names is Yahweh Rophe, the healer. That is who he is as well as part of his job description.
Even though we availed ourselves of medical help, I know that ultimately God healed me from a painful ulcer, and he touched my son's body as well—freeing him from the vicious cells of a stage 3 cancer. And one of my friends found relief after months of depression. God also extends grace by healing us from dark strongholds which threaten our peace and steal our joy. If we allow him entrance into these hidden places, he restores, enriches and miraculously heals. His mercies are new every morning as his touch evaporates our pain and the bondage that can chain our souls to earthly Hades.
God redeems our lives from the pit—from self-centeredness which throws us into the downward spiral of covetousness. He saves us from the pit of depressive disorders that spin our minds downward into the darkest of places. He rescues us as we struggle from the bottomless hell of addictions and the evil attitudes we so readily accept. Christ lifts us out of these pits and presents us to God as pure children—whole and renewed in his sight.
He crowns us with steadfast love and mercy (v. 4b). Steadfast love is the type of affection and compassionate care that we depend on as we grow an intimate relationship with the Savior. He never betrays us, never abandons us, and never forgets our birthdays (physical and spiritual). His mercy covers our mistakes and our human tendencies to focus on our own timelines and goals. Carefully and gently, he points the way back to truth and orders our days, giving us purpose and value.
God satisfies us with good things (v. 5). Besides the obvious meeting of our daily needs, Christ often sends reminders of his presence into our private worlds.
While pregnant with my son, I sat outside in the July heat and begged God for my child's life. After losing two previous babies, I yearned to hold this child, to count tiny fingers and toes, to brush my lips against his baby-soft skin.