One of the things I love about the Bible is how honest it is. The pages of Scripture do not gloss over the flaws and sins and weaknesses of people. Even the great heroes of the faith are not airbrushed or photo-shopped to make them look superhuman. I also love that Scripture lets us see the real struggles that people have in seeking to follow God.
One such person in the Bible is a guy named Asaph. For those of you who are scholars, you will know he made a huge impact in the Bible. Next to David, he wrote the next largest number of psalms. When you read his words, you can feel the angst in his soul when he wrestles with the issues of life. One such question is the issue of life struggles. In Psalm 77, he pours out his heart to God, expressing his doubts and pain. He writes in verses 4-9: “Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion?”
If we are honest, we would have to admit that all of us have had our Asaph moments. Some days, weeks, months and years seem to be endless black tunnels with no exit in sight. Asaph was feeling the same way. Fortunately, the passage doesn’t end in verse nine. For Asaph, he discovered or rediscovered who God was. As we walk with Asaph we can discover a couple of practices that are helpful to our soul when we find ourselves in seasons of doubt.
The first thing we learn is to remember God’s track record. Sometimes in sports, a player’s history as a clutch player elevates their value for a team. They may be older and their bodies may not do what they used to, but when it counted, they always came through. With our relationship with God, His track record is impeccable.
It all comes back to gaining the right perspective. This is about stepping back from your immediate circumstance and getting a look at the big picture. Asaph goes on in 11-12 saying, “I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about them.”
I want you to notice four words in these two verses…recall…remember… thoughts…thinking. Memory is a friend to faith. The word I like to use is “remember.” I can testify to this personally. God has an amazing track record in my life and probably yours as well. And, His faithfulness in the past gives me the confidence to deal with the doubts that come in the present. And, likewise, when I step back and reflect on God’s track record, my doubts diminish.
Asaph says “these wonderful deeds are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about them.” These events are true. God’s track record is historically verifiable. Look at what the Bible says. In Exodus, God delivered 2 million people from Egypt and parted the Red Sea. In Joshua, He made the walls fall down at Jericho and in Daniel, He let Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fiery furnace unharmed and kept Daniel from being eaten by the lions. We see in the New Testament that Paul was rescued over and over and Jesus rose from the dead! If these be true, then He certainly can take care of me.
Let me give you a practical step you might take here. For many of us, we are going through tough times. It might be natural to have doubts. I know I do. But it comes back to a trust issue. Sadly, I think we do not trust God just like we do not trust others around us. But if we are having those feelings, we need to spend time reflecting on God’s track record in history and our lives.
We need to choose to trust God’s character and power. Verses 13-14 say, “O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? You are the God of miracles and wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.”
Our God is a God of miracles and wonder and power. That truth is seen spectacularly in the Creation. Isaiah 40:26 says, “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”
Think for a moment about the neighbourhood we live in called planet Earth. Our sun is 93 million miles away and it is just an average size star in Milky Way Galaxy. It is perfectly positioned at just the right distance to sustain life on this planet.
The sun is 333,000 times the size of the earth and it is so powerful that it takes its light and heat only 8 minutes to travel from the surface of the sun to touch your skin. Every sunrise is a reminder of God’s faithfulness. With amazing precision and majesty, it keeps showing up every day.
It hangs up in the sky as a testimony for God’s bigness and power and creativity. Psalm 19:1-4 says, “The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship.”
When I meditate on God’s majesty and when I consider His Creation, it helps me overcome my doubt. There is freedom in coming to terms with your smallness. Even though your world may seem out of control, the universe is not out of His control. The great big God of the universe can be trusted. He is not powerless or negligent. If we are the crowning achievement of all His creation, do not you think He is going to take care of us?