Wednesday, July 25

Remember His Faithfulness

I love Psalms! Well, not really any more than I love all of the scriptures. But, there's something so very real about the writers of Psalms. I can appreciate the sincerity in their words when one minute they are praising God... singing and dancing in His presence. Then, a few lines later, I read sentences describing feelings of loneliness and near bitterness towards God.

In reading, it seems almost like they've FORGOTTEN who God had been to them only a few lines earlier. Also, it's evident in the writing that the focus changes from God to self. And, with the shift in focus, there's an obvious shift in mood. I can also experience MANY of these focus shifts that become noticeable in my mood. In those moments, all that I need, want, or desire become priority. The problem here is that this attitude causes me to focus on all that I'm MISSING rather than on all that I've been GIVEN.

Psalm 77 is a perfect example of this problem. The psalmist begins writing in an attitude of want... He's recounting all that he DOESN'T HAVE..

"I was in distress and I sought the LORD... my soul refused to be comforted... I mused and my spirit grew faint... Will the LORD reject forever?... Has his unfailing love vanished?... Has God forgotten to be merciful?"

It sounds harsh, doesn't it? I'm pretty sure I would NEVER utter these words about God. But, before you think I'm saying that I'm better than this Psalmist, I'm SURE my actions have revealed the same attitude. His attitude and the attitude that I know I've had is...

Because I'm not experiencing the things that I WANT to experience from the LORD, I'm miserable, I'm suffering, I'm .... (you fill in the blank)

Now, let me say that feelings are real! I'm in no way supportive of disregarding feelings or not dealing with how negative circumstances can hurt us. But, when we remain in the attitudes expressed in the beginning of Psalm 77, I believe we/I demonstrate the selective amnesia we have when it comes to the work of the LORD in our lives.

So... what's the answer? How do we get out of the mindset of "I need" and "I want"? Well, the Psalmist says to remember!

"Then I thought, To this I will appeal... I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds."

The rest of the Psalm is written by an author with a much different mood. So, what changed his mind? I don't read that the LORD stepped in with a mighty miracle or just the answer the writer was looking for. It appears that a change of focus created a change of heart. Instead of focusing on all that the LORD wasn't doing in his life, the Psalmist began to focus on his list of all that the LORD had done. And, that list was long!

Please go to Psalm 77 and read this list of God's faithfulness for yourself. I've got mine right in front of me, and I can tell you that it's full of many things that I've NOT experienced the LORD doing in my own life. But, I DO have my own list that is FULL of His faithfulness. And, I bet you have yours too. I think we need it in writing... a visual reminder of the faithfulness of God.

And, the next time we wake up to a difficult day, situation, etc, we can look back at the list and trust the fact that He was faithful then, He WILL be faithful again. It's who He is...

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."   Hebrews 13:8