Have you ever heard a song that left you totally wrecked?
Maybe you were driving or sitting in a waiting room, and out of the blue, a song came on that touched the very core of your heart?
Perhaps it was a praise and worship song; maybe it was a country crooner who spoke the exact words that have been bubbling over in your heart. It might have even been an angry rock ballad that pierced your cold heart with its poignant lyrics.
Yeah, I have been there, done that for all of the above.
The same thing has also happened to me when I am reading the book of Psalms.
I mean, yes, granted, there are times when I am just reading words and not feeling a heart connection. But then there are other days when the words jump off the page, and I think, “I totally get where this guy is coming from. I hear you, dude! I’m right there with you.”
Those where my exact feelings when I recently read Psalm 77. Like the words of a song that jumped out of the radio and pierced my heart, these words expressed exactly how I was feeling.
I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
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?”
As I said last week, the past few months have been really tough. While the ministry has been going well, behind the scenes, we’ve been facing challenges in our personal lives that have been absolutely exhausting.
After the Mantour Conferences were over and put away, I just wanted to crash into a heap of tears. All of the physical issues our whole family has endured and the lifestyle changes that went with them left me feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and a little disillusioned.
Although I don’t want to sound whiny, if I’m honest, I must admit that I could relate to some of David’s feelings in this Psalm.
I can also relate to his remedy.
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.”
You see, this is what I know is true: we all go through hard times.
Many of those hard times wear us out.
Either as we’re going through a tough season or after coming through it and having a moment to catch our breath and recover, we will experience feelings of doubt, fear, sadness, loss, anger, or even hopelessness. This is totally normal.
We all have times when we need to pull back, have a good cry, get it all out, get some rest and eat some chocolate (or ice cream….ice cream works, too).
We all have moments when we need to allow ourselves to wallow (even the psalmist). But these are just moments—we can’t live there.
One of the best ways to get back up and get going again is to do what the psalmist did and start remembering the things that God has done in the past.
Remember the miracles.
Remember how God provided in the past.
Remember the things God brought you through.
Like the psalmist, take time, look back and gain strength from all that God did in the past. Let these memories remind you that God still has a plan, He still has a purpose, and He will bring you through this challenging time, too.
If we read the end of the Psalm, we see that’s exactly what the writer did.
Lately, it’s what I’ve been doing, too. I’ve been remembering.
While the psalmist remembers the Red Sea splitting for Moses and Aaron, I remember things like the time God told us to build office space, and I said, “Maybe in a few years.” But God kept pushing us, and we obeyed even though it required steps of faith that seemed as large as crossing the Red Sea. (At least for me.)
Two years later, I can look back and see that God knew exactly what He was doing and why He wanted it done when He wanted it done.
He knew what I didn’t know: There was a worldwide pandemic coming, and we’d need the office space. Within two years, the price of wood would triple, making the project unaffordable. In two years, my Dad (who lives with us) would retire, and we wouldn’t be able to work in the living room.
God knew it all, and that’s why He led us in that direction.
Even more miraculous, He paid for it all!
As I look at this beautiful room, it stands as a testament to me that God is in control.
As I remember, I gain hope, and I grow stronger.
Maybe today, you can identify with the words at the beginning of Psalm 77.
You are overwhelmed, exhausted, and wondering, “Where is God? What is He doing? How did this become my life?” (Ok, maybe those are my feelings.)
Can I encourage you to do what the psalmist and I have been doing and start remembering?
Remember the good things God has done.
Remember the times He carried you through.
Remember what He brought you from and the amazing things He’s done in your life.
Allow those memories to refresh your faith—-to build you up and help you get back up again.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.