May 15, 2020 by Jennie Hession
I have always been a person who looks to the future. I’m always looking forward. And often find myself making plans for the next big adventure or project that I want to take on. In the past several years, I’ve been reading and listening to podcasts, learning about how we all have different orientations to time that affect how we perceive life and act in the world. To my surprise (just kidding), not everyone is future focused. Others are more focused on the past or the present.
So, for me right now, in the midst of the pandemic, I find myself looking past the “stay-at-home” days and masks and illness and fear. I’m thinking about what’s ahead – giving my mom a hug, going out for dinner with friends and such – it just looks a lot better to me than the present…and it “feels” less painful for me. That’s not the approach that Asaph took in Psalm 77.
Asaph begins by crying out to God about the deep trouble that he is experiencing…
“Oh that God would listen to me!
“All night long I pray…pleading”
“There can be no joy for me until He acts”
“I think of God, I moan, overwhelmed with longing for His help.”
“I am too distressed even to pray.”
“I think about the good old days…I search my soul and think about the difference now.”
Asaph is living fully in his present reality. And he is taking his deepest emotions and questions to God.
Asaph doesn’t stop there. After he pours out his heart to God, he remembers God’s help from the past…
“You are the God of miracles and wonders!”
“You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.”
“You have redeemed your people by your strength…”
“When the Red Sea saw you, O God, its waters looked and trembled!”
“Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters…”
“You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep.”
Asaph teaches us that we can take our present pain to God. God invites us to bring our fears and troubles and _______________ to Him. What deep trouble do you want to share with God today?
Tell Him how you feel.
Asaph also teaches us that remembering how God helped Israel, and us, in the past brings comfort.
Many of the Psalms (including Psalm 77) recount God’s awesome and powerful works of help and deliverance to the people of Israel. As you think about your past, how has God helped you?
I’m grateful that God shows me, through this song of Asaph, that I need not try to escape the pain of the present by thinking about the future, but instead, that I can take my pain to Him and remember how He has comforted me in the past, so that I can fully live in the present as one of His followers