Close to six years ago I was asked a question that has stuck with me. The question was, “Lloyd, do we need older people to tell us how to handle difficult things in life?” Part of the reason the question has stayed with me is that the asker was implying that I was old. But another reason it still runs through my head is that we do need to know how to handle difficult things. As I read Psalm 77 this week, I felt like God was providing me with another answer to the question. Verses 9-12 were the springboard for that answer. They read:
Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah. 10 Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. 12 I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
We do not know what difficult situation Asaph, the writer of the Psalm was facing, but by asking the questions he did in verse 9, it is abundantly clear he was facing something significant. His next words offer us a lifeline in difficult moments. Amid the darkness he saw in front of him, he looked back to the light that God had shone in his life in the past. Oftentimes the best way to move forward when it is hard is to look back. In looking back, Asaph was offered a more complete picture than he had at the moment. He could see old versions of the dark against the backdrop of mighty deeds God had done. As we do that same, and ponder and meditate, God offers us encouragement and confidence. That does not mean that the dark disappears. But it does mean that God shows how He has worked in the past. And that reminder is a proclamation that God can work in the present and the future. As verse 14 declares:
You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.
When I know that God works, I can face difficult moments. I pray that as I get older, I will be delighting more in God because of how He has been known in might among us. This to me is another example of God’s beauty that I need to behold so that I experience His love more fully.