I wonder if you feel as though God has forgotten you. Are you going through a hard time and you’re wondering if God even cares? If so, you can relate to Asaph in Psalm 77, when he asked, “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” (Psalm 77:7-9)
I have to confess that there have been times in my life when the heavens felt like they were shut—I had no sense of God’s presence in my life. Hard times often have that effect on us. Our reasoning is that if God cares, then we wouldn’t be going through this! Asaph accurately put our feelings into words, didn’t he?
But here’s what I love about Asaph’s psalms: He expresses his doubts and confusion about God’s love and care, but he never stops there. He immediately goes back to what he knows to be true about God. He intentionally changes his thought patterns and forces himself to recite what he knows is true.
After his honest and candid expressions of doubt about God’s care—right on the heels of those words of confusion and lament—he says, “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works, and meditate on all your mighty deeds” (Psalm 77:11-12). It’s that word “will” that you need to note. He didn’t say when I feel God’s presence in my life again, then I will remember the deeds of the Lord. In spite of his feelings, he says “I will. . .” Asaph set his will to do what he needed to do when he was in this hard place.
If you cannot see or feel God’s love and care for you right now, this is what you need to do: Recite out loud who God is. Asaph said, “Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles. . . ” (Psalm 77:13-14). He moved himself from his questions of doubt to remembering who God is and reminding himself that God works wonders.
If you’re in that hard place today, go to Psalm 77 and pray Asaph’s prayer to God. Include all that you have to be thankful for. Recite all the ways that God has led you and blessed you in the past. Force your tongue to give a sacrifice of praise. That’s the starting place for victory over your doubts, your fears, and your discouragement.