Suggested Reading: Psalm 77
Bombarded by daily news updates about the devastating spread of COVID-19, it’s difficult for many to avoid the temptation of succumbing to fear, worry, anger, and even panic.
When real, yet invisible, danger invades our communities and affects our day-to-day living, how can children of God live with confident faith?
The Bible offers much wisdom to help us combat the seemingly uncontrollable worries and fears plaguing our world as we face the devastating global impact of COVID-19.
But as I prayed for the hurting and for my loved ones that were miles away from me, I needed to process my emotions with God. So, I turned to the book of Psalms and let the Lord lead me through a cleansing time of teary praise and prayer.
When I got to Psalm 77, I had to chuckle. Much like me, the writer obviously believed in processing raw emotions with God.
He begins with an honest lament revealing his confidence in God’s ability to hear his prayers.
“I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.” (v. 1)
Then, admitting his weakness with a heart-wrenching feeling of rejection, the psalmist declares:
“I sought the Lord in my day of trouble. My hands were continually lifted up all night long; I refused to be comforted. I think of God; I groan; I meditate; my spirit becomes weak.” (v. 2-3)
As a praying man, the psalmist admits that he struggles with doubt.
He knows God is able and willing to hear his prayers. He knows God is mighty and merciful enough to care about his small voice. Still, his situation wore him out. Waiting for God to answer him, to move in his situation, to deliver him from his struggle . . . simply weakened his spirit.
I can’t even count how often I’ve desperately asked God to revitalize my spirit, to refresh my weary soul, and to be my strength because I had no strength of my own to offer.
The psalmist doesn’t hide his inner turmoil. Instead, he confesses the uncertainty that trickles into the quiet moments when he’s all alone with his thoughts.
He writes: “You have kept me from closing my eyes; I am troubled and cannot speak. I consider days of old, years long past. At night I remember my music; I meditate in my heart, and my spirit ponders.” (vv. 4-6)
Not many of us can say we’ve never laid wide awake in a dark room, longing for peace and sleep as worries kept us awake.
While it’s easy to let our anxious thoughts snuff our peace and steal our much-needed rest, the psalmist offers a better way to combat those sleepless nights.
Instead of counting his very real concerns and fears, he intentionally remembers “days of old, years long past,” the testimonies of God’s goodness that have built his foundation of faith.
When I read that the psalmist remembers his music, I immediately connected with him.
God often uses worship and praise music to calm my spirit, to guide my thoughts to His love and truth, to help me shift my focus from my “self” to my Savior.
In verses 7-10, the psalmist demonstrates how processing, much like a dance, requires an ebbing and flowing of emotions. We can’t immediately stop worrying about something that has kept us awake at night or caused us to doubt our faithful Father.
But like the psalmist, we can allow ourselves to process and trust God to lead us to peace that strengthens our resolve.
The psalmist writes: “I will remember the LORD’s works; yes, I will remember your ancient wonders. I will reflect on all you have done and meditate on your actions.” (vv. 11-12)
From pondering and making a commitment to himself, the psalmist dives into an intimate prayer directed toward God. This bold act of prayer affirms how the Lord invites us to approach Him intimately. As we pour our hearts out to the Lord, the Holy Spirit helps us remember who we’re worshipping and depending on no matter what our current situation.
The psalmist sings: “God, your way is holy. What god is great like God? You are the God who works wonders; you revealed your strength among the peoples. With power you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.” (vv.13-15)
After reflecting on his problems and remembering how God worked in the past, the psalmist proclaims his faith with courageous confidence.
Turning his eyes to God’s past faithfulness empowered him to trust God would remain true to His Word and His character.
Looking past his current circumstances and jumbled feelings, the psalmist glanced at God’s vast creation and remembered God’s unlimited power over the universe and everyone He created (vv. 16-20).
As the psalmist reminds us how the Lord used Moses and Aaron to lead his people “like a flock,” we too can exhale a prayer of praise.
The Lord is our Good Shepherd. He provides today, just as He has provided in the past. He is working today, just as He has worked since the beginning of time.
Though we’re facing a pandemic and dealing with emotions that may feel overwhelming, we can count on God to remain with us.
Our loving Father can handle our emotional laments as we come to him in honesty. He can handle our uncertainties as we process and learn to navigate through this difficult season.
God will not leave us. God will not let us down. He never has before. And He won’t start disappointing us now.
We can rely on Him to continue proving Himself faithful and good, just as He’s done in the past.
As we turn to God, talking to Him and trusting Him with our most vulnerable thoughts and emotions, we can walk with confident faith in the midst of crisis.
Mighty and Merciful Creator and Sustainer of all, thanks for assuring us that You are with us as we walk through this season of uncertainty. Thanks for affirming that You are still in control, still working for our good, still providing and protecting and proving Yourself faithful. Please give us opportunities to reflect on the ways You’ve worked in the past as we rely on You to carry us through this present moment. May Your name be glorified and Your power magnified in and through our lives as we place our hope in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you would like to join me for daily prayer and encouragement, please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook where I’ll be sharing Pause for Prayer posts.
I will return to sharing weekly encouragement on my blog, as well. I would love to hear your praises and prayer requests in the comments section under each blog post and in the comment sections under my social media posts.
If you’re looking for deeper studies and prayers as we wait for God to work in and through this difficult season, you can order your copies of Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Our Daily Bread Publishers, and ChristianBook. And you can love your neighbor by ordering extra copies to share as gifts.
I look forward to growing with you and praying with you.