Hope Discovery of the Day:
Our sovereign God is active and with us no matter what this life brings.
Scripture of the Day:
Psalm 77:2-6, 10-14
2 “In my time of trouble I sought the Lord. I kept my hand raised in prayer throughout the night. I refused to be comforted. 3 I said, ‘I will remember God while I groan; I will think about him while my strength leaves me.’ 4 You held my eyelids open; I was troubled and could not speak. 5 I thought about the days of old, about ancient times. 6 I said, ‘During the night I will remember the song I once sang; I will think very carefully.’ I tried to make sense of what was happening. 10 Then I said, ‘I am sickened by the thought that the sovereign One might become inactive. 11 I will remember the works of the LORD. Yes, I will remember the amazing things you did long ago! 12 I will think about all you have done; I will reflect upon your deeds!’ 13 O God, your deeds are extraordinary! What god can compare to our great God? 14 You are the God who does amazing things; you have revealed your strength among the nations.”
If anyone knew suffering, it was David. But oh, how much He loved God. He was a man after God’s own heart even while he fled for his very life. We can learn a lot from Him. Although he was the author of many of the Psalms that share a similar sentiment, this and several other Psalms were penned by Asaph. Who is Asaph, you ask? A man who understood what it was to have troubles and how to overcome them.
He was a worship leader, singer and a poet. He had a unique way, like David, of putting his emotions into words that helped us to understand God and His role in our lives more deeply. Asaph lived in troubled times – wait, have there ever not been troubled times? Since sin entered the world, let’s just say things got interesting. But I digress. Asaph witnessed His people, Israel, torn apart and the temple stripped by an invasion of Egyptians. Tough times, indeed. So how did he handle such times?
First, Asaph was honest. He revealed his struggle with doubting God, but He took those thoughts captive and turned them into praise. He was honest about suffering. He did not sugar coat it, but he also did not give in to it. He described His suffering in vivid details, pouring out His woes, but not just to anyone. He knew where to run to . . .
Sought the LORD.
Asaph did not seek help or relief from anyone but God in this time of desperation. He knew where His help would come from. Whether or not God delivered, his hope was firmly in God and it was constant.
He chose to think on what God had done and to trust in His God Who had proven Himself, rather than in His present circumstances. This is hard work and takes discipline. It is easy to meditate on our suffering and let that discourage us. Pain kind of gets our attention. But maybe that attention is not all bad. Especially if it draws us nearer to God.
When we are in trouble or suffering, it does not mean that God has forgotten or forsaken us. Quite to the contrary. The psalmist has hope because of Who God is. His hope is not just that everything will get better. Real hope runs deeper than that. God does not minimize our suffering and none of it is ever disregarded, but He will use it to bring clarity to our minds and to help us to place our hope where it belongs . . . in Him alone.
Surrounded by pure chaos, Asaph could have just written a lamentation. He could have given into the doubt and fear all around him. But he did not do that. What an example of worshiping the LORD through the dire situations that life can bring and proclaiming His greatness in the midst. This is so different from the consumer entitlement mentality of our day that says God is good as long as we are blessed. Asaph reminds us that we are blessed because we are His. We are blessed to know Him. Our sovereign God is active and with us no matter what this life brings.
Lord, thank you for being with us in the dark moments of the soul in this life. Thank you for never leaving us. Help our hope in You to be constant, anchored in Who You are, not just what You do for us in this life.