In my Bible, Psalm 77 is titled, “In the day of trouble I seek the Lord.” While our collective fear about the coronavirus has faded somewhat, I think we can all agree that the “Day of Trouble” has not passed yet. This Psalm gives us some incredible things to meditate on as we attempt to trust our Lord in this time.
I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. 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. When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. SelahPsalm 77:1-3
Notice here that Asaph starts with calling out to the Lord. The Day of Trouble has come and he is focused on crying out to his God for aid. I don’t tend to do this. I tend to spend time trying to “understand the situation.” Have you caught yourself reading the news more than your Bible? Here, Asaph shows us a better way: seek the Lord, all day.
You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I consider the days of old, the years long ago. I said, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.” Then my spirit made a diligent search: “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?” SelahPsalm 77:4-9
I don’t know what was troubling Asaph, but he is clearly in a dire situation. How does he respond when he can barely speak? He remembers the goodness of God. He sifts through his memories to remember God’s kindness towards him, and asks himself if he has any reason to assume that God would stop being loving. This is wisdom, this is a good method for dealing with our anxiety: Get your mind filled with God, his goodness, and his character. He will not fail.
Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”Psalm 77:10
This truth—the faithfulness of God—becomes Asaph’s rock. He will appeal to his knowledge of God’s faithfulness when he feels himself slipping into despair and anxiety. He will rest in the knowledge of the holy.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph. SelahPsalm 77:11-15
And then Asaph does what we ought to do, all the time! He worships. Do you hear it? Do you sense the confidence that is returning to Asaph’s outlook as he begins to recount the works of God? The God who loves him is the God who has worked wonders, who has demonstrated his might. If he can rescue all of Israel, can he rescue one man?
When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled. The clouds poured out water;Psalm 77:16-20
the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side. The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
The climax of the Psalm moves into the natural world. All of God’s creation is astounded at his glorious might and power. Those things which seem out of control, bent on destruction and raw power—the wind and the waves—they tremble at the sight of Yahweh. He simply walks through the oceans without even leaving a mark. This is the God who lead his people through the storm to safety. And he has never stopped doing so.
What an encouraging Psalm to dwell on. Whether life hasn’t really changed for you over the last three months, or you are facing real hardship and difficulty ahead, you can find hope in these words. If the God of the Bible is your Lord and Savior, he will protect and keep you. You can find peace in the Day of Trouble.
The “Isolation Introspection” series started as an opportunity for me to encoruage members of our Bible Study with daily reflections from the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan during the 2020 “Stay at Home” mandate in Los Angeles. I’ve moved them here so that they can be shared easily, and perhaps benefit others. I hope you enjoy!