Today in Sunday school, we went through two Psalms, 76 and 77. As is sometimes the case when my week has things that are out of the ordinary (my hand surgery on Wednesday!) I didn’t get to do my study on both of the Psalms we were supposed to go over today in class.
It was good to read through Psalm 77 fresh this morning and see it in light of where I find myself spiritually right now. I will put the text here and then just have a few comments to make.
Psalm 77 (English Standard Version)
In the Day of Trouble I Seek the Lord
To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of Asaph.
1 I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, and he will hear me.
2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
3 When I remember God, I moan;
when I meditate, my spirit faints.
4 You hold my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5 I consider the days of old,
the years long ago.
6 I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart.”
Then my spirit made a diligent search:
7 “Will the Lord spurn forever,
and never again be favorable?
8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?”
10 Then I said, “I will appeal to this,
to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
12 I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.
15 You with your arm redeemed your people,
the children of Jacob and Joseph.
16 When the waters saw you, O God,
when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
indeed, the deep trembled.
17 The clouds poured out water;
the skies gave forth thunder;
your arrows flashed on every side.
18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
your lightnings lighted up the world;
the earth trembled and shook.
19 Your way was through the sea,
your path through the great waters;
yet your footprints were unseen.
20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Here is Asaph finding himself in a time of doubt. (verses 1-9) He then makes a decision in verse 10 – “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” He then goes on to recount things that he knows about God and His deeds – reminders that will give him renewed faith to be able to get through this tough time.
I wonder if even as Asaph recounts God’s deeds and attributes (verses 11-20) is he still feeling doubt and/or despair? He might be. Or, it might have been a time long past since he went through it and there was a period of time that elasped so that he got back to a place of trust by the time he wrote this.
If I were reciting verses 11-20 for myself, I would say that I believe all those things about God in my head, but I am not “feeling” it right now. I will get there eventually because I am not giving up on the things I know about God that are true – what I know of God from His word and what I know of God as He has worked in my life. I learned from this verse that I need to purpose to repeat to myself the works of God that will build my faith. I also learned that I need to repeatedly and often seek the Lord, remember, ponder, and meditate. I need to spend time with God in prayer pouring my soul out to Him and listening to Him speak through His Spirit and His Word.
Maybe some of you never have that doubt – or at least you haven’t had it yet. But, for those of you who have, take heart! We are in good company. And do you know what? God is not afraid of our doubt nor is He angry with us. He gently guides us and teaches us and shows us Who He is so that we can trust. He is our Good Shepherd. Isn’t that comforting?