Remembering A Reflection on Psalm 77 – By Guest Author, Michelle Van Vliet
I Remember when I first read Psalm 77 as a new believer. It came as a light piercing the dark season I was experiencing at the time. I honestly do not recall the cause of that season, but I remember hoping that where I was, was not where I would remain.
Phrases like, “I stretched out my untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted.” gave voice to the internal conflict I experienced. I cried out but could not be soothed. Doubt about God’s love and goodness were creeping in daily. If God was good, why was he so silent? There are few things that sear the soul more than God’s silence and apparent indifference over our plight.
There have been many more seasons of darkness since then. And I am learning something along the way. The writer of this Psalm, Asaph, was learning it too. Difficult seasons are best navigated with honest disclosure and intentional recall. Asaph did not withhold his despair as he poured out his thoughts to God. He was honest and I am so glad he was because it suggests I can be honest too. After all, what is the point of bringing a false version of myself to God? I don’t need him to love the false me! I need him to love true me – the real version!
The real me asks what Asaph asked. “Are you forgetful, God? Did you forget your mercy? Will you reject me forever? Did I do something that caused your silence or are you just cruel? Will your blessings skip over me because of something I did?” These are some of the questions that, if we are honest, haunt us in the darkness. And if we linger too long in them, we will, like Eve, eat their fruit.
In Asaph’s honesty he did not linger. He turned his thoughts to something more reliable than the emotions influencing his perspective. And as he meditated on what was true, he was loved into a deeper experience of God’s presence. He recalled God’s active care over his people as they fled Egypt for a new kind of life. Yet he recognized that even back then, the people could not see God working; it was only later that His faithfulness was evident. “Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.” In our darkness, we are invited to trust that, though we cannot see it, God is at work on our behalf, journeying us to a new kind of life.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you….
… you are precious and honored in my sight,
I love you… Do not be afraid, for I am with you…
…See, I am doing a new thing – do you not see it?”
(excerpts from Isaiah 43)
What are the stories from your past that remind you of God’s faithfulness?
How can you come to Him as your honest -self and let him love you into a deeper experience of His Presence?
Is there a “new-kind-of-life” awakening in you as you wait with him in the darkness?