January 16, 2015
READ: Psalm 77:1-20
We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near (75:1).
Almost everyone loves to hear stories of God ‘showing up’. We feel trapped by circumstances, we pray in desperation and a providential answer arrives just in time. We know it’s God, and it’s easy to praise Him—for a while.
But so much of life is lived in the ‘idk’ (‘I don’t know’)
—those in-between times when our problems increase and threaten to obscure God’s goodness. We wonder where He is.
A cluster of psalms attributed to Asaph (Psalms 73-83) deal with life in the ‘idk’. Again and again the psalmist revealed the raw honesty of his heart as he saw his people violated and tyrants prospering.
In Psalm 77 he wrote, “All night long I prayed, with hands lifted towards heaven, but my soul was not comforted” (v.2). That anguish soon slipped into resignation: “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me” (v.10).
“But then . . .” (v.11).
For those who trust in God, every moment living in the ‘idk’ has a corresponding “but then”. Asaph continued, “But then I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago” (v.11). He then celebrated the “God of great wonders” who displays “awesome power among the nations” (v.14). The conclusion is one of triumphant memories, not despair over the present.
Despite the fear that permeates many of Asaph’s psalms, the focus is on God, His past goodness and His promise to be our God. We anticipate a day when justice will reign. Then we will look back and see how God was near us every step of the way.
The times when we don’t know what to do are the times to let God build our faith. When we don’t have anywhere else to go, He has us exactly where He wants us. —Tim Gustafson
365-day plan› Genesis 25:19-34
Read through a couple of Asaph’s psalms today (Psalms 50 and 73-83). Look for the balance between anguished honesty and praise to God.
What “wonderful deeds” can you recall that God has done on your behalf? Write them down and thank Him for what He’s done in the past as you face your present concerns.