In case your eyes glaze over when you read quoted material, I'll just recap: David is praising the Lord because the Lord does the following:

  1. Forgives all our sins.
  2. Heals all our diseases.
  3. Redeems our lives from the pit.
  4. Crowns us with love and compassion.
  5. Satisfies our desires with good things so that our youth is renewed like the eagle's.

This is one of those scriptures you either believe or don't. And just think about what this passage is saying, if you do believe it. Whatever we think may be happening to our countries or the world, these are still the things God does for those whose hearts are turned to Him.

I believe these promises are to the individual; as you know, I understand God's great project on earth to be the redemption of individual lives. If these promises become blessings to a nation, the blessings flow through the individuals in that nation who expect and receive them. The blessings can flow outward from any person, no matter how poor or "lowly."

But to flow at all, they must be expected by individuals, so that we can receive them. What if the task of Christians today is to call on God for these blessings, for ourselves and those around us?

Consider: in each of our lives, how many sins have we been forgiven, from before we acknowledged that we were committing sins? If God gave up on us the way we give up on each other, a good 99 percent of the Christians who have ever lived would have failed to acknowledge their sins in time to be saved.

Limited health care options may soon become a reality for many Americans, as they have been in other nations for decades—but what if we can call on God for His help in this realm? If He wants his children to have all the medical care they need, can temporal governments thwart Him? If Christians continue to take seriously the ministry of providing health care to the needy across the globe, will God allow us to be denied the care we need?

I earnestly pray that the lives of ordinary people around the world do not have to descend into "the pit" in the coming years. But if they do, we have the promise of God that He will redeem those lives. Even more, He will crown us with love and compassion. We're so accustomed to being crowned with credit ratings and professional credentials that we have probably lost our sense of what it might feel like to be crowned with love and compassion. But we have the opportunity to find out—if we believe God means what He says.

We don't all have the same idea about what constitutes "good things": the kind we would like to be satisfied with. But that's okay. God made us individuals for a reason. Can He satisfy us all? Inventors would rather not be accountants, nor do entrepreneurs want to join a union work force. Some people like big houses and land; others prefer a smaller dwelling and the opportunity to travel. And that's all fine with God. He didn't create us to all be the same person and want (or despise) the same things. He doesn't see the missionary in Africa as "better" than the owner of a Ford dealership in Ottumwa, any more than He prefers the wealthy, seemingly perfect family over the impoverished household with a delinquent son.

I'm not sure Christians are much readier than today's secular ideologues to let God bless other people the way the other people prefer to be blessed. But that is one of the promises in Psalm 103. And what a liberating promise it is! God doesn't simply say that He'll give good things; He says He will satisfy our desires with good things. Not all things are good, of course, but God knows better than we do that we don't all desire the same good things. That's how He made us.

God created us to yield a world of variety, inspiration, progress, color, joy; a world in which people with many different gifts and personalities can be happy. Can the devices of men deface what God has made? Why not ask God, from just where we are right now, to satisfy our desires with good things, so that our youth is renewed like the eagle's? Why not ask that for those we love? If God is doing all the things recounted by David in Psalm 103, can we be beaten down and left to struggle in the pit? And if we stand, crowned with love and compassion, will we not be a beacon to others?

On Thanksgiving Day 2012, let us give thanks that our God is the Living God, the Lord God of Hosts—Yahweh Sabaoth—and His son, our savior Jesus Christ, is our brother and king. "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him" (2 Cor. 2:14).