Slideshow image

Psalm 77 holds a special place in my heart. I frequently prayed when I went through a difficult time in my life and ministry many years ago. It expressed what I felt. I made similar statements and asked similar questions:

  • 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.
  • When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints.
  • 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?

When we go through difficult times or find ourselves in a dark place, these kinds of thoughts and questions can dominate our thinking. When you’re going through such a time, you can honestly wonder if you will ever experience joy again. When there’s no obvious relief coming over the horizon, we can get stuck in ruminating on these troubled thoughts.

Yet in the second half, the Psalmist intentionally changes focus. “Then I said, ‘I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.” (Psalm 77:10-12).

So the Psalmist chooses to focus on the Lord’s deeds, wonders, mighty works and acts. As we read further in the Psalm, we realize he’s focusing on God’s deliverance of Israel from the Egyptians through the parting of the sea. That situation looked impossible. Humanly, there was no way out. Yet God opened up a way no one could imagine.

When we turn from our discouraged thoughts to God’s great works it can help us bring God back into the current picture. By remembering what He has done, we can remind ourselves of what He can do. We need focus on God’s greatness for an extended period of time, not a few seconds.

Psalm 77:12 in the New International Version of the Bible especially struck me this morning – “I will consider ALL your works and meditate on ALL your mighty deeds.” There are a great many examples of God’s works and deeds throughout the Bible. God has also done great works in our own lives.

Focusing on these for a while can challenge our defeatist negative thinking. So today or the next time you might experience discouragement start listing God’s great works in history and in your life. Then with his greatness in mind, bring to Him your troubles.

“Thank you God that we can always turn our thoughts towards You and Your mighty works. Help us to wage war against those discouraging thoughts by remembering You. Then give us more faith to continue to trust You to bring the help we need when we need it.”