Has the Lord rejected me forever?
Will he never again be kind to me?
Is his unfailing love gone forever?
Have his promises permanently failed?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he slammed the door on his compassion? Interlude
And I said, “This is my fate;
the Most High has turned his hand against me.”
But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;
I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
They are constantly in my thoughts.
I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. (NLT)
If any sequence of verses sums up the Psalms it is this. So often the psalmist is in trouble. He doesn’t know what is going on. He wonders what God is doing about his predicament. So many Psalms feature lament. Which is in itself a safeguard against our own tendency to want to make our faith journey something utterly palatable and constantly happy.
And yet the Psalms encourage us because they don’t leave us discouraged. The psalmist may often be in the pits, but he comes to realise God is there with him and that the pits are not the whole story.
Here, the writer is in distress: life is not making sense. He has not denied this by burying it under pious pretence. But having admitted his distress, he doesn’t succumb to it. He instead remembers the character of God revealed in his might works. The logic being that if God is this great and this faithful then he can be trusted in his present circumstances.
This can be our approach too. We face our confusion and distress but place it in a wider context: that of the mighty works of God. We take hold of the solid core of our faith while living in circumstances which are anything but solid. We might not know everything that is going on right now, but we cling to what we do know.