The year 2020 will go down in history as one of the most challenging in memory. Some have suffered indescribably, losing friends, family, livelihoods, health, meaningful relationships…even life itself. But even those of us who have not fared so badly in the pandemic will, with few exceptions, have experienced times when Psalm 77 has reflected their pain with alarming accuracy.
The prayers that have been flung at God, and appeared to bounce off the wall. The anxious nights of soul-searching. The feeling that if God is there at all, he’s just plain bored and switched off from my needs, or maybe never cared anyway. The worry that I’ve pushed him too far, with no way to get back into his favour.
Psalm 77 also gives us the clue of what to do in these darkest of times. Verse 10, ‘THEN…’ Then you make a decision to focus on how God has handled difficult situations in the past. How God has been faithful. How powerful he is. How he turned a terrible situation around. How he worked miracles…
And lastly, how this awesome, almighty, majestic God who is capable of literally turning the world upside down, will lead those he loves, tenderly, lovingly, gently, as the Good Shepherd that he is.
God many times instructed the Israelites to educate their children in the history of their people, tell them the stories, ground them in the details, keep them in the forefront of their minds. Knowledge of what God has done in the past builds our faith, and is the scaffolding on which can grow hope for the future.
Some people find it helpful to keep a journal of answers to prayer, things to be grateful for, times of rejoicing, to look back on. The bible itself is full of wondrous stories of God’s work in our world. These are our weapons to fight fear, anxiety, dread, sorrow and negative thoughts. They plant the seeds of hope for our future, and we all need that.