Have you ever been in one of those seasons where it seems like God is nowhere to be found? No miracles. No acts of love. No felt sense of presence. Just emptiness? As if we had sinned too much for God. Or let him down. Or he just wasn’t as available.
It can make you stop and question if the things he did in the past were really legitimate. Because he seems so absent in the present.
I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
3 I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.[b]
4 You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
5 I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
6 I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
7 “Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
It is tempting at this point to stay in the place of frustration. Wondering if God cares. Feeling left-out by God. And planting the seeds of hurt and anger towards God.
But then Asaph does something wonderful. He makes a declaration that even though God appears absent in the present, he will not set his mind on the current situation. He will set his mind and mediate on the things God had done long ago:
10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
To this Asaph set his heart. Not on the currently reality of not seeing or sensing God’s involvement, but remembering and worshipping Him for what he did in the past. Remember the goodness of the Lord. So here it is:
13 Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
And he dwelled on the most significant, undeniable move of God in Israel’s history: the Exodus.
The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
19 Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
The point is this. For whatever reason sometimes God does not make his presence known in our lives. Not that he isn’t there, but that we just might not sense him like we used to. Instead of bemoaning the feeling that he is no longer with us, or we’ve angered him too much, or God is no longer involved, we would do better to imitate Asaph.
To remember God for what he has done, not what he isn’t doing.