I’ve been thinking lately about how the Psalms can help us to know what to pray. This is something people always say but I’ve usually found quite difficult. Recently I visited a friend, Penny, who has been amazing at sharing psalms with me that really speak into my situation. Today I’d like to tell you about one such psalm.
Sometimes we go through seasons of real struggle, where we’re praying for relief and it doesn’t come. We know the Lord is sovereign, so we wonder why he’s not answering our cries.
At times like this, we might be kept awake at night, knowing that the One who “grants sleep to those he loves” (Ps 127:2) could easily drift us off into a peaceful slumber. We might use this time to pray, but no comfort comes. Then it’s morning again, and nothing is better.
During these seasons we might remember how things were six months ago or six years ago. How we used to laugh, how carefree we were, what exciting plans we had made. We try to pray, but only tears come. I try to recite Scripture, and the words get stuck in my throat.
Is something wrong with me? Am I a proper Christian?
This is the experience of Asaph the psalmist, as described in Psalm 77. And since it’s there in God’s word, I know that God our Father is not surprised by this. Not only does he care, but he’s equipped us with the words to say when no words will come.
He speaks the unspeakable for me.
There are those who will tell you that at times like this, God will send you a sign. He will give you a lightbulb moment, a Road-to-Damascus or an Isaiah 6-facedown-in-the-temple experience. You will see the Lord, and all will become clear.
But sometimes that isn’t what happens. In fact, I don’t think we should expect that to be the normal Christian experience.
So what should I do, when it seems that God has “forgotten to be merciful”? (Psalm 77, v9)
I can tell you what Asaph did. Asaph used his brain, and he used what he already knew about God:
Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal:
… I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.Psalm 77:10a;11.
He decided to remind himself what God is like, based on what God had done for his people in the past.
For Asaph, the most amazing example of this was the miraculous parting of the Red Sea: God’s means of rescuing his people from slavery in Egypt.
For us, that is surely the crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah, the Son of God: God’s means of rescuing his people from slavery to sin.
Does God love me? Yes. He did not withhold from me his one and only Son.
Is God powerful to do miracles? Yes. He raised Christ from the dead.
When the happy feelings aren’t coming, when sleep evades you and when prayers seem unheard, let’s appeal to this: Christ is Risen indeed. Hallelujah!
Now the daylight flees, now the ground beneath
quakes as its Maker bows his head.
Curtain torn in two, dead are raised to life;
‘Finished!’ the victory cry.
…Oh, to see my name written in the wounds,
for through your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death, life is mine to live,
won through your selfless love.
This, the power of the cross:
Son of God – slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.
(Keith Getty; Stuart Townend)
2 thoughts on “To this I will appeal”
Just came across your blog randomly and think we’d get along great. Dutch Blitz is my absolute fave (as are codenames and carcasonne) which is how I stumbled upon your blog – that Christmas gifts post from 2021!!
Also love the wing feather saga. Looking forward to reading more (more recent!!) posts.
Hi Anna! Thanks for letting me know. I’m so glad you’ve found me! I hope the posts can be an encouragement to you.