Day 20: Psalm 77
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?”
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.”
Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
PSALM 77 (NIV)
My husband loves to watch old westerns. He watches in suspense (but I roll my eyes, of course) as the cowboy inevitably sinks into quicksand. His comrade pulls him out JUST in time before the enemy arrives. We laugh and joke about the old western ideology; but truth is we all, at times, succumb to the quicksand of despair.
Allowing our minds to focus on negative forces around us (hurts, sorrows, the seemingly impossible, our failures, etc.) draws us into a vacuum of despondency that increasingly spirals downward. In Psalm 77, the Psalmist suddenly recognized his own downward spiral of thought, and he made a conscious choice to turn those thoughts around. He chose to turn from a negative mindset and speak truth. He acknowledged how God had stretched out His hand to perform mighty deeds and miracles. He affirmed God's holiness, power and redemption.
The enemy of our souls is fully aware that adverse thoughts will keep us from recognizing, acknowledging, and trusting in the redemptive work of Christ. He blindsides us with all that is wrong so that our negative focus conceals our sense of reason and attitude of praise.
Daily, we stand at a crossroads. We can choose to focus on the negatives that are prevalent in each of our lives, or we can choose to focus on the power of God that raised Christ from the dead and seated him at God's right hand where he constantly intercedes for us. One focus leads to the quicksand of despair; the other offers hope, peace, and joy, even in the most desperate situations.
Twyla Burkey, Family Ministry Connections Coordinator