Oct 12, 2011

When God goes out of business just when you need Him

When the Lord tends to disappear in our time of need it is easy to become disheartened. I love finding comfort from reading certain Psalms that deal with this exact predicament. Check out the first part of Psalm 77

I yell out to my God, I yell with all my might, I yell at the top of my lungs. He listens. I found myself in trouble and went looking for my Lord; my life was an open wound that wouldn't heal. When friends said, "Everything will turn out all right," I didn't believe a word they said. I remember God-and shake my head. I bow my head-then wring my hands. I'm awake all night-not a wink of sleep; I can't even say what's bothering me. I go over the days one by one, I ponder the years gone by. I strum my lute all through the night, wondering how to get my life together. Will the Lord walk off and leave us for good? Will he never smile again? Is his love worn threadbare? Has his salvation promise burned out? Has God forgotten his manners? Has he angrily stalked off and left us? "Just my luck," I said. "The High God goes out of business just the moment I need him." (Psalm 77:1-10 MSG)

It brings hope to my being whenever a Psalm resonates with my thoughts and heart. This Psalm from Asaph lifts me out of any funk I may be experiencing, ironically, by knowing that the "absent God" is the same loving God shared throughout the Scripture. God has always been one to allow us to think that He is far from us. But we know that He is never far from any of us. It just feels that way some times.

Here's what this psalmist does next to restore his hope in God.

Once again I'll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I'll ponder all the things you've accomplished, and give a long, loving look at your acts. (Psalm 77:11, 12 MSG)

By reminding himself of all the great deeds that God has done for His people, Asaph turns from complaining to worship. The simple spiritual discipline of remembering what He has done for us brings us into a sweet communion with the Lord.

After Asaph reflects upon the goodness of God, the psalmist begins to admonish the Lord with shouts of praise. He goes from shouting out to God with concerns ,at the beginning of the Psalm, but ends by shouting out to Him with praise. The interesting thing to remember here is that his problems are not fixed. His prayers are not answered. What is given to Him is the remembrance that His God is listening and has a proven track record of rescuing His children from their troubles.

Here is the remainder of the Psalm:

O God! Your way is holy! No god is great like God! You're the God who makes things happen; you showed everyone what you can do - You pulled your people out of the worst kind of trouble, rescued the children of Jacob and Joseph. Ocean saw you in action, God, saw you and trembled with fear; Deep Ocean was scared to death. Clouds belched buckets of rain, Sky exploded with thunder, your arrows flashing this way and that. From Whirlwind came your thundering voice, Lightning exposed the world, Earth reeled and rocked. You strode right through Ocean, walked straight through roaring Ocean, but nobody saw you come or go. Hidden in the hands of Moses and Aaron, You led your people like a flock of sheep. (Psalm 77:13-20 MSG)

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