Psalm 73 is a case study in what to do when you slip into a season of spiritual doubt and struggle. A godly man named Asaph is in a fog of confusion and anger at God. There are things he sees as he looks around the world that don’t make any sense, especially for a person who believes that a loving and powerful God rules over this world.
But as the psalm continues, we get to watch as Asaph climbs out of this pit into which he has fallen. The first thing he does is to pour out his pain to God. Honesty with God is always a good starting point. The second thing he does is he keeps himself connected to the community of faith. He doesn’t quit church or kick his Bible across the room. He keeps seeking God. In fact, it is while he is in church that the storm in his heart breaks, and healing begins to wash back in.
A third lesson Asaph would teach us is to remember what God has done for you in times past.
This is especially critical when – from your point of view – God seems a million miles away in your present.
In verse 23, Asaph says to God, “Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel…”
In Psalm 77, Asaph writes a similar psalm about worshipping God when the feelings are gone. In verse 9 of that psalm, he says, “Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion? Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.’ I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.”
The problem with us, is we’re so forgetful. God does something amazing for us, or brings us through a trying circumstance, and our hearts are filled with praise at his faithfulness. That is until the next time we get a flat tire. And then we’re grumbling and doubting and grousing all over again.
A person wise and mature in the Lord would say, “You know, God you brought us through that last test, and so now that I find myself between a rock and a hard place again, I’m going to choose to trust you.” I will remember your miracles of long ago.
Back in the days of Samuel, God brought Israel through a dangerous threat, and Samuel built a stone altar of remembrance to the Lord and named it “Ebenezer” meaning “stone of help.” Samuel then said to the people that whenever they looked at that altar, they were to call to mind that God had helped them up to that point. So why would he not help them now?
A person wise and mature in the Lord would say, “You know, God you brought us through that last test, and so now that I find myself between a rock and a hard place again, I’m going to choose to trust you.”
In the hymn “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing” is an verse which says, “Hitherto Thy love has blest me; Thou hast brought me to this place”. Those words were actually changed from what the author originally wrote. The original verse said, “Here I raise my Ebenezer, Hither by Thy help I’ve come.”
I guess it was felt that modern Christians couldn’t handle a tough biblical word like Ebenezer. But you child of God need to set up Ebenezers in your home. Surround yourself with visual reminders to you of God’s faithfulness in days gone by, so that the next time things get tough – and they will – you’ll remember God’s faithfulness.
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