To This I Will Appeal

Fa Barboza, Unsplash

My heart meditated and my spirit asked: “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” (Psalm 77:6-12)

Asaph is in distress. Things are not going as they should. He groans and faints, tossing and turning throughout the night in agonized prayer. We don’t know what distress he is facing specifically, which means we can put his prayer in our mouths when we face various trials. Whatever the issue, at a certain point he takes charge of his soul. He turns to meditation, interrogating himself, debating the big questions he’s been asking.

Will God reject his people? Could his love for me cease? Does he really keep all his promises? Assuming there is no defect in God, the problem might be me: have I sinned too badly this time, so that his anger has finally overtaken his mercy? It is good to ask questions of ourselves, to determine what the truth is, and whether or not we’re living in light of it.

But where will he go for answers? That’s the big question many of us have to ask. Google can’t tell me if God will keep loving me. Not even AI can do that! For those answers, we need to look at God himself. Notice the turn Asaph takes in the middle of his questions: “To this I will appeal.” He then details the many times God showed up in strength to deliver his people. Trusting a God like this—a God of love and power, a God who is both able and willing—makes much more sense than fear.

When suffering trials of many kinds, we all face the temptation to interpret God in light of our circumstances, rather than our circumstances in light of God—what we know to be true of him. In those moments, we must follow Asaph’s lead. When interrogating our souls, we have two questions to ask. First, who is God? But second—and this is the all-important next step—how do I know? Merely reciting a litany of God’s attributes (holy, powerful, good, wise, loving) may not be enough to stem the tide of doubt and fear. We must, like Asaph, appeal to the many evidences we have that God is indeed all those things to us and more. What evidence? The record of his faithfulness to his people from Adam to Noah to Abraham to Moses, David, Asaph, Isaiah, and beyond. And supremely, of course, the evidence of the cross and empty tomb.

Like Asaph, let’s consider all his works and meditate on all his mighty, loving deeds.

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