Uh-oh Lord, here comes a big one! Some days it doesn’t take long to know that this day is going to be a real doozy. Whether physical circumstances or perhaps an emotional tidal wave, these swells can hit us out of nowhere. Feelings of sadness, anxiety, stress, worry, fear, anger, or frustration come and sometimes they crest into waves that can knock us off of our feet and threaten to take us under. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I see it coming, and I feel that all I can do is hold my breath and steady myself for the crashing wave. And sometimes we do go under, but God promises us his presence and a way out of the mighty waters. But doubts tend to creep in through the cracks of despair. Sometimes I find myself thinking, “Are you still there Lord, because I can’t see you!” I love that these raw and honest thoughts are recorded in the bible too. Psalm 77 is one such example.
In verses 1-10, the psalmist cries out to God for help; he is moaning and his spirit is growing faint. Oh how I’ve been there! Our responses to circumstances and emotions can swell like an ocean wave and gain momentum and power over us. The psalmist wonders if God has forgotten about him. But in verse 10 his despair turns to comfort as he meditates on God’s truth and remembers God’s faithfulness in the past. We are wise to do the same. I love the way The Message bible summarizes this passage, “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…You pulled your people out of the worst kind of trouble, rescued the children of Jacob and Joseph” (Psalm 77:11-15, The Message). The Psalmist recalls God’s mercies and the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea for the Israelites to cross. “Your path led through the sea, your way through mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen” (psalm 77:19 NIV). It is so hard to remember that God is right there walking with us, isn’t it? In my last blog post When Enough is Enough, I spoke of God collecting our tears (psalm 56:8 NIV). God’s not just out there somewhere. He’s right here. Isaiah 43:2 says “when (not if) you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when (not if) you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When (not if) you walk through the fire you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze,” (emphasis mine). 2Corinthians 10:5 instructs us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” When we are faced with waves that threaten to drag us under, what if we were to recall God’s truth and mercy like the psalmist instead of the despair we face? Let’s let psalm 77 be our example and trust in God’s mercies and unseen footsteps.