Scripture Text: Psalm 77
When God seems absent, what does it take to ask Him the hard questions about where we find ourselves?
This psalm’s writer has probably seen God’s Temple destroyed, the capital ransacked and the people exiled. All seems lost. “Is this the end of your love and your promises? . . . Have you forgotten how to have pity?” he cries out. God no longer helps his people with his right arm. And that hurts. The writer twice describes himself as restless – troubled, agitated, compelled to mourn – all translations of the Hebrew text.
With its first 10 verses, this psalm gives us permission to bring our hard questions to the author of the big Story; the questions that keep us restless in body and soul. This psalm gives us courage to name and mourn the losses and grief in our stories that we believe God should have prevented or at the very least fixed. It takes courage to bring the social injustices in our world before the One spoke that world into being and judged it good . . . and demand answers.
But the courage to mourn isn’t enough. We also need tenacity. Moses and Abraham had that tenacity – the kind that reminded God of His promises and dared to hold Him to them. Paul displayed it in the way he lived out his hard calling. So it is with this writer. In verses 11-20 he remembers and then reminds God of his rescue of the Hebrew slaves, their exodus, the parting of the Red Sea – all the miracles of long ago.
Our stories are full of miracles. Remember them. Speak them out into the flat silences of dark nights when God doesn’t seem present. Remember them and remind God. We have permission.
Dear God, you are the good shepherd. Help us remember that you know us by name. Remembering gives us the courage and tenacity to follow you through the valley of shadows. In Jesus’ name. Amen