“I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, and my spirit makes diligent search. Will the Lord cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more? Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? And I said, "This is my anguish; but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High" (Psalm 77:6-10).
An old Chinese proverb says, “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever”. As humans we are full of questions to which we want answers. Do you ever ask God questions or do you have a list of questions you would like God to answer? If you are like me your list of questions for God grows long, especially during hard times.
As the opening verses above mention, in Psalm 77 God’s people appear to be undergoing some suffering. The author (whose name was Asaph) had a number of questions he wanted God to answer. He wanted to know if God’s mercy had ceased, if God’s promises had failed, if God was so angry with His people that He was going to no longer show them grace and mercy, and in His displeasure with them was God was going to cast off His people forever (Psalm 77:7-9)?
These questions weighed so heavily on Asaph’s heart that it troubled him and he had difficulty finding rest: “I cried out to God with my voice—to God with my voice; and He gave ear to me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed” (Psalm 77:1-3). His thoughts were consumed with seeking the answers to these questions so much so that his eyelids were kept open as he could not sleep (Psalm 77:4). These questions became his “song in the night” as they played over and over again in his mind (Psalm 77:6). He diligently sought the answers to these questions.
To Asaph’s credit, although these questions filled his heart and created within him a lot of anguish, he took time to reflect upon God’s wonders and His work on behalf of His people. This helped to relieve Asaph’s troubled heart: “And I said, ‘This is my anguish; but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.’ I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds. Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; who is so great a God as our God?” (Psalm 77:10-13). Asaph also reflects upon God’s work regarding His creation in nature and His faithfulness in leading His people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron (Psalm 77:14-20).
All of us are going to have questions similar to Asaph’s during different points in our lives. We are going to wonder if God is no longer going to be gracious, merciful, or favorable to us. This is understandable, especially during hard times in our lives. These questions may keep us awake at night and trouble our hearts. However, part of my living a life of faith involves my trusting in God and remembering His grace, mercy, and favor that He will not take away from me as I continue to follow after Him. When facing adversity or suffering, by taking time to reflect upon God’s faithful dealings with both His creation and His people, I can find relief for the questions that may trouble my heart.
“For You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth. By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother's womb. My praise shall be continually of You” (Psalm 71:5-6).