“What shall I render to the LORD For all His benefits toward me? I shall lift up the cup of salvation And call upon the name of the LORD.” Psalm 116:12-13 [NASB95]
Easter is bittersweet for me. Sarah didn’t die at Easter, but Easter of 2017 is the last vivid memories I have up until the day before she left. It’s the last cohesive day of memories I can sort of relive with her through my mind’s eye. All the moments of days between then and the day before she left are just snippets of time I’m unable to string together in a satisfying way.
I’m so very thankful for Easter. If there were no Easter, no resurrection to celebrate, Christianity would be utterly meaningless. If Christ was not raised and there is no resurrection, as Paul said, Christians “are of all men most to be pitied.”
“and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found [to be] false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:14-19 [NASB95]
I praise God that Jesus, God incarnate, came in human flesh, lived a perfect sinless life, died a willing sacrificial lamb for our atonement, and rose again defeating death, providing reconciliation between sinful men and our Holy God, and the certain Hope of eternal life for those who believe.
I believe. I have confident eager Hope. I am longing for a future I am certain of because I believe He who promised is faithful.
And yet, my heart aches and my eyes well with tears as I type. Cries of Pslamists and saints from centuries ago echo in my ears and reverberate in my heart, “How Long, O Lord?” and “Come, Lord Jesus!”
So as confident Hope and aching heart collide this morning, I lift up the words of another Psalmist from long ago as my offering to Him.
1 I love the LORD, because He hears My voice [and] my supplications. 2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call [upon Him] as long as I live. 3 The cords of death encompassed me And the terrors of Sheol came upon me; I found distress and sorrow.
4 Then I called upon the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I beseech You, save my life!” 5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate. 6 The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. 7 Return to your rest, O my soul, For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. 8 For You have rescued my soul from death, My eyes from tears, My feet from stumbling. 9 I shall walk before the LORD In the land of the living. 10 I believed when I said, “I am greatly afflicted.” 11 I said in my alarm, “All men are liars.“
12 What shall I render to the LORD For all His benefits toward me? 13 I shall lift up the cup of salvation And call upon the name of the LORD. 14 I shall pay my vows to the LORD, Oh [may it be] in the presence of all His people. 15 Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His godly ones. 16 O LORD, surely I am Your servant, I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid, You have loosed my bonds. 17 To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, And call upon the name of the LORD. 18 I shall pay my vows to the LORD, Oh [may it be] in the presence of all His people, 19 In the courts of the LORD’S house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!
Any fear I may once have had of my personal physical death evaporated the moment my child was stripped from me. In that instant I was instead entangled, encompassed by the cords of death, her death, and the terror, distress and sorrow it brought. Then, like the Psalmist, I, too, called upon the name of the Lord.
Because of Easter I have the Hope and joy of saying with the Psalmist, “You have rescued my soul from death, My eyes from tears, My feet from stumbling. I shall walk before the LORD In the land of the living.”
That first “Easter” He defeated death and its destruction day is coming. He has secured my eternal future with Him, Sarah, and all who also believe. Praise God, there is a certain day coming when this sword-pierced soul of mine will no longer ache and my eyes will no longer well with tears.
12 What shall I render to the LORD For all His benefits toward me? 13 I shall lift up the cup of salvation And call upon the name of the LORD. 14 I shall pay my vows to the LORD, Oh [may it be] in the presence of all His people
His benefits and faithfulness toward me these past 2,129 days without Sarah are innumerable. In response, with tearful yet grateful worship I lift my cup of salvation high to Him, proclaiming His faithfulness in the presence of His people.
In gentleness and compassion He reminds me, “Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His godly ones.” Sarah’s death is precious to Him. It is not forgotten or unnoticed by Him, nor are my tears in her absence.
He sets no earthly time limit on the ache of my heart or yours. He tenderly collects each of our tears in His bottle. He will faithfully do so until a soon coming day, in just a little while, at long last, when He Himself has promised to wipe the final tear from each of our eyes.
Until that day, may we each lift the cup of salvation high to Him, and our hearts with it, boldly and faithfully singing with the Psalmist, ” 16O LORD, surely I am Your servant, I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid, You have loosed my bonds. 17 To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, And call upon the name of the LORD. 18 I shall pay my vows to the LORD, Oh [may it be] in the presence of all His people, 19 In the courts of the LORD’S house, In the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!“
Sarah’s last Easter photo and artwork.
6 thoughts on “The Cup of Salvation”
I always enjoy reading your writing. You are very gifted in what you write.I hope that y’all are doing well.Have a great Easter Day and Sunday is why we know that we will see our child again!
Thank you so much, George. Praying you have a blessed Easter, also.
Karen, this is beautiful. I always enjoy your thoughts put to paper. Sorrow is a teacher. I think back to the pieces written by Mrs. Cowman in STREAMS in the DESERT on the subject of sorrow. You have helped me in my losses of both Xander and my husband, Buddy. I cannot imagine what you and Scott have been through in all you have experienced since Sarah’s death. My heart goes out to you, I am so thankful you have chosen to reach out and help others in their losses. You both are an inspiration to me.
Sending love to you and Scott.
Thank you so much, you are such a sweet blessing to both of us. I think of you so often in your waiting to see Xander and Buddy. Praying a blessed Easter weekend for you. ❤
What impeccable thoughts you have penned down for us all to behold!
God bless you and your family😇🙏🏾💗
Thank you so much, Lombe. Praying for you now. Just a little over two months until we get to see each other, Lord willing. ❤