This has been a long week…and it’s only Thursday. Long days. Longer nights. The closer Dad gets to Heaven, the more I realize that we can’t do this alone. We were never meant to. And it’s okay to cry, and really okay to cry out to God.
Psalm 77 was today’s scheduled Psalm for me. Asaph opens with these words: “I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.” (Psalm 77:1, ESV) In those words are both despair and confidence, faltering hope and faithful hopefulness. He cries out of despair, confident that the God he cannot see will hear what he says.
He’s honest too. “In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying, my soul refuses to be comforted.”(Psalm 77:2, ESV) At first read, you might think that Asaph won’t even let God comfort him! It isn’t that Asaph won’t let God comfort him–he can’t seem to find comfort in God. Whatever Asaph is going through, it’s as if he’s trying to catch a glimpse of the sunrise over the ocean, only to be slapped by a pounding wave. As soon as he gets back up and cleans the salt out of his eyes, another wave slaps him. The anticipated sunrise eludes him.
Life is like that sometimes. Prayers appear unanswered, circumstances are crippling.
Then Asaph makes a decision. What follows is a litany of “I wills.”
- I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.
- I will remember the deeds of the Lord.
- I will ponder all your work.
- I will meditate on your mighty deeds.
Asaph’s “I wills” lead to another list of “You are” statements.
Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.” (Psalm 77:13-15, ESV)
Notice the one act Asaph went back to–when God redeemed Israel. There’s an underlying principle here. When I can’t understand where I am, remember where I was and what God did to get me out of it.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32, ESV)
For the last twenty-four hours I’ve prayed the Gospel. As Dad slips away I’ve stepped into the reality of who I was and what God did…and I’ve been reminded that if God would meet my greatest need, my heavy burden is no challenge to Him. As a matter of fact, I am not only Ross Lewis’s son, I’m the Heavenly Father’s Son.
Asaph goes into detail about the exodus and then makes a remarkable observation: your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters, yet your footprints were unseen. (Psalm 77:19, ESV)
I cannot see God. I cannot audibly hear his voice. But I promise you that the song of his grace and the truth of his gospel are louder than the crashing waves he is carrying me through.
This old gospel song sums it up.