Have you ever lay awake in bed, not able to sleep because you had questions for God? I have. Asaph did. Asaph mourned over the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the Jews. In Psalm 77, Asaph prayed to God in the middle of the night in his distress. He prayed and cried out to God for help (v. 1). He is in “distress”(v. 2a). An excellent time to reach out to the Lord for help is when we are suffering. Asaph lifted his hands to the Lord until they grew tired (v. 2b), groaned and meditated until his spirit grew tired (v. 3), and went without sleep in his anguish (v. 4a). He could not even talk because he was so upset (v. 4b). I have been there, and perhaps you have as well. What a serious time of soul searching, asking questions, and seeking understanding! It’s ok to ask God questions if we aren’t demanding answers or doubting His character and plan.
All Asaph could do in the middle of the night was think about the past (v. 5). While he remembered the good times of the Lord’s faithfulness and the moments when he worshipped in the middle of the night (v. 6), all he could do at that moment was ask questions from his troubled soul. Asaph asked six questions: “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” (vv. 7-9). Sometimes in the middle of our hurt and despair, we may feel like the Lord is a million miles away. Asaph needed to remember the words of David in Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Asaph did what we must all do. He pulled himself out of his pity party, stopped thinking about what he didn’t know in the present, and worshipped God for what He had done in the past. In verse 10, Asaph said, “Then I thought.” We must get our thinking right in troubled times, or we will drown in our sorrows. Asaph remembered how God “stretched out His right hand” (v. 10), performed miracles (v. 11), and worked mighty deeds (v. 12). He remembered the true character of the Lord (v. 13) and even named specific situations where God helped the Israelites in the past (vv. 15-20). Asaph came to this conclusion: If God did it before, He could do it again. If He helped His people in the past, He could help them now. Asaph knew he must trust the Lord through his hurt and uncertainty. He needed the Shepherd of his soul (Psalm 77:20, 1 Peter 2:25) to lead him out of his pit and into greater faith. So do we.
- Are you in a “can’t sleep with lots of questions and hurt” time of your life?
- Are you reaching your hands out in desperation to the Lord?
- Are you allowing His faithfulness of the past to comfort you in your present?
Lord, if You did it before, You can do it again. When I am beside myself with worry, uncertainty, and grief, help me trust You. You have always provided for me and been beside me. Help me have the faith You will do it once more. Turn my questioning into worshipping. May my pity party turn into a praise party. I choose to think about what I do know about You and allow it to comfort what I don’t know about my situations. I lay my burdens down and pick my faith up. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.