When is it good to remember? Remembering is often associated with great pain and often does more harm than good. The only time it is good to remember, is when we focus on God’s help in the past, remembering has to be focused on God.
In Psalm 77:1-6 the Psalmist Asaph finds that his mind is focused on his troubles and when he has trouble, he prays. A good strategy, but often when we have prayed about our trouble, we find no relief, even though we have prayed and been in God’s presence. This happened to Asaph too and by end of verse six, he still has no relief.
But the source of his distress is not actually his troubles, the source of his distress is doubt. Asaph has lost faith and as he sits in the presence of God, he asks in verses 7-9 (with the Message Bible in brackets) questions that all of us ask:
- Will the Lord reject me forever, (walk off and leave me for good)?
- Will He show favor to me again (will He never smile again)?
- Has His unfailing love vanished forever (has His love worn threadbare)?
- Has His promises failed for good (promises have burnt out)?
- Has He forgotten to be merciful (forgotten His manners)?
- Has He, in His anger, withheld His compassion (angrily stalked off and left us)?
The Message says: “Just my luck” I said, “The High God goes out of business just the moment I need Him.”
I so identify with Asaph’s doubt. When we are going through trouble, often it is our hearts that are in distress as we wonder about God and how He feels towards us. These phrases are often exactly our thoughts and words in times of trouble and reflect our very prayers.
But Asaph refocuses His attention on God (verses 13-20) and Asaph remembers God’s deeds in the past, Asaph remembers His works and the displays of His power and Asaph remembers His nature and character.
“Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples; with your mighty arm you redeemed your people…”
When we are troubled it is good to ask ourselves if our distress is not based on our doubt, or lack of faith? When we have lost sight on what God has done for us in the past: forgotten the displays of His power and become estranged from His true nature and character. If you and I had to sit down and “remember” about God and our own personal walk with Him: if we had to recall what we know about Him: the promises He has given us in the past and the love relationship we have with Him; would we not be encouraged once more?
Would we not, like Asaph, be moved to worship and in our worship find that our lack of faith, our doubt about God has been replaced with trust?
When times are tough and we experience trouble, how much of our anguish is because we have allowed our troubles to become greater than the God we are trusting in. The source of our distress is doubt: can I trust you Lord?
Remembering takes focused thought, it takes time sitting still and thinking back. It means taking out our journals and old promises and thinking about what we learnt, what God promises us. It requires that we be honest with God and ourselves about His role in our life. It is fellowship with other believers who have walked with us in the past, who remind us of the paths we have walked before.
Remembering God, encourages our faith in times of doubt.
Thank you Father that I have memories and promises from a life journey with You. They remind me that you promised an abundant life, filled with plans and purposes as I walk with You. Your ways are above the ways of the world, You are the God of miracles, the God of the impossible. Help me to remember that You will make a way, even when I cannot find the way, because my life is in Your hands and I can trust You.