psalmsstudyI’m still slowly but surely working through Kathleen Nielson’s Psalm study. As I’m looking at Psalm 77, the study guide asks the reader to consider the questions in verses 7 through 9:

Will the Lord spurn forever,
and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?

As I read these familiar questions, it occurs to me that the psalmist can only ask them because he has previously felt God’s favor, steadfast love, and compassion. Right now, in the moment of suffering, he feels their absence. But only because he’s at one time felt their presence.

And these past experiences with God and knowledge of God’s character are precisely what he draws on in verse 10 when he says:

Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”

He looks back. He has a well from which to draw comfort. We have that, too. We can go to His Word like the psalmist and see God’s mighty deliverances of His people. We can read stories of missionaries, martyrs, and others who have gone before us and see how God has loved His people with a steadfast, gracious love. And we can look back at the way He has worked in our own lives and remind ourselves that we can trust him right now.

Looking back can be a very good thing.

I can personally attest to this. I look back at where I was just one year ago. Alone, separated from all I loved, anxious, sleep-deprived, constantly crying, physically wasting away. And He delivered me. He walked with me, before me, every moment. His Word was my food. He loved me through His people. He sent 2 friends to walk with me — one flew to be with me from literally halfway around the world — and one was nearby. My family displayed His love and care constantly.

No one can ever take that experience of God’s comfort, faithfulness, love, and compassion from me. I know God is good and can be relied upon. That should make a difference in my life today. Right now.

The challenge is to not forget. That’s always the challenge, isn’t it? That has been the challenge of God’s people throughout the centuries. Like the psalmist, we have to make a deliberate effort to “remember the deeds of the LORD.”

What do you remember today? Remind yourself. And remind someone else to remember.

When a person is reminded of something he has forgotten, he is being taught.” ~ St. Augustine



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