Oh, give thanks to the LORD, by his goodness we're blest;
and his mercy forever goes on.
The redeemed of the LORD -- let them retell their story!
Those redeemed from their enemies -- speak of God's glory!
For he gathered the exiles from east and the west,
from the north and the south and beyond.
Some have wandered the deserts and wastelands for miles,
finding no cities where they could rest.
Overwhelmed by their thirst and the prospect of dying;
faced with hunger, mere living was not worth the trying.
Then they cried to the LORD in their troubles and trials,
and he saved them from their great distress.
And he led them to safety on paths that were straight,
to a city wherein they could dwell.
Let them thank LORD Jehovah for his dedication;
for his wonders done for the sons of his creation.
For he quenches the thirsty; souls longing, he'll sate;
hungry souls, fills with good things as well.
Some were sitting in darkness of gloomy despair;
in their chains and their misery, bound.
They rebelled against God's own commands he had given;
and rejected God's counsel, the most High of Heaven.
So he humbled their heart with hard labor to bear;
and they fell, with no help to be found.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble they faced,
and he saved them from their straits again.
And he led them from out of the gloom they were under;
from the shadow of death, snapped their irons asunder.
Let them praise LORD Jehovah for his love and grace,
and his deeds for the children of men.
And their bronze gates of prison, he's shattered and hewed;
and he's smashed bars of iron in two.
Some were fools, letting sin become very addictive,
and because of that sin and guilt, they were afflicted.
They detested and loathed every manner of food,
till the grim gates of death were in view.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble and woe,
and he saved them from out of their bind.
And he sent out his word and he healed them with power;
they were saved from destruction in their final hour.
Let them praise LORD Jehovah for loving them so,
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Let them offer their sacrifice: unending praise;
and sing songs of his works joyfully.
Some went down to the sea to board ships they had chosen,
plying trade routes as merchants upon the great ocean.
They have seen with their eyes the LORD's powerful ways,
and his wonders in the depths of the sea.
For he spoke and a tempest came up and winds blew,
lifting waves of the sea in the gale.
Their ships rose to the heavens on waves in a hurry,
then sank down to the depths; their souls melting with worry.
They were troubled and staggered as drunken men do,
all their wisdom was of no avail.
Then they cried to the LORD for their trouble to cease,
and he saved them from peril once more.
Stilling storms to a whisper that once were so violent,
he makes waves of the ocean turn glassy and silent.
They were glad when the waters were stilled and at peace,
and he guided them safely to shore.
Let them praise LORD Jehovah for mercifulness,
and his deeds for the children of man.
Let them praise LORD Jehovah in great congregations,
and exalt him with elders and rulers of nations.
He turns rivers to deserts and vast wilderness,
springs of water to dry, thirsty lands.
He turns land that is fruitful to land that is bare,
for the wicked who live there in sin.
He turns deserts of sand into lakes with sand beaches,
springs of water refreshing the dune-covered reaches.
And he causes the hungry to settle down there,
to build cities for dwelling therein.
They sowed fields and they planted their seeds and their vines,
reaping yields they could barely contain.
With his blessing, their sons and their daughters were many;
they had great herds of cattle and hardly lost any.
Then their numbers decreased and their blessings declined
through oppression, affliction and pain,
His contempt upon noblemen will be poured out,
and they'll wander without any way.
But he rescues the needy from out of their trouble,
and he makes so their families, like flocks, more than double.
And the righteous will see and rejoice with a shout,
while the wicked have nothing to say.
Let the wise take these things to his heart to be stored;
and consider the mercy and love of the LORD.
This poem was a finalist in the April 2022 poetry contest