There are a seasons of the soul in the life of every believer where it seems as if God is nowhere to be found. Thankfully this is not the season I am in right now, but it was indeed this season for Asaph, or even moreso for Jeduthun to whom the psalm was written. Asaph, the author of this Psalm was feeling as if the sins of Israel had been so bad that God’s love for his people had vanished. ‘Where are you, God?’ seems to be the cry of his pen.
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?”
He is being real with how he felt. Just a raw God-lover asking, “Where are you, God? Have you forgotten us?” And then he finds the path for himself, and the path for all peoples in this storm.
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.”
When God seems on vacation, it is in this time that meditation on the works of God and the miracles of his mighty deeds in the past that will keep the anchor firm. We might not sense Him, see Him, feel Him but we know he has been there before and that he will be again. And so armed with the power of remembering the power of God, Asaph did just what he said he would–he paused to meditate on God’s work in the past:
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.
16 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.
We all have seasons where God does not “feel” present and it is Ok to acknowledge this. But the way out is not despair or to become impatient believing that God no longer cares. But it is to see that God is who has been, who He is now, and the same God in the days ahead. We don’t understand his ways and that’s Ok. It just means it’s a good time to meditate and remember who he has been.