Bad Days

Today was one of those days. Maybe you’ve had a day like this. I woke up with my heart all twisted up inside of me. Anger. Bitterness. Frustration. Sadness. It was the combination of many circumstances and situations in my life where I felt like God wasn’t at work in. But nothing happened today that ignited these feelings. I simply woke up with them.

Here’s the normal chain of events for my sinful heart. It happens every couple of months. I acknowledge and notice something off in my life, something outside of my control, and I begin to get mad and frustrated with God about it. I do the classic “if you loved me, you would do this. If you were good, this wouldn’t happen.”

“If you’re good, children wouldn’t be without a good home this Christmas. If you loved me, all of my relationships would be perfect in this season of my life. If you’re good, my family wouldn’t have lost a brother/son. If you’re loving, I wouldn’t be hurting. If you were good, my friends wouldn’t be in such pain.”

Around and around this goes, and each time this happens I show just how stupidly forgetful I am as a person.

I absolutely love the Psalms because of how transparent emotionally they are. I study different passages for the sake of teaching and preaching, but the bulk of my devotional readings are in the Psalms. They always hit me close to home.

A couple days ago I read Psalm 77. And it wrecked my whiney heart.

I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked: “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion? – vv. 1-9

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I’ve felt this before for sure. I have felt like I’m tirelessly crying out to God and not finding comfort. I’ve felt like I’ve remembered God and meditated on His promises and still felt faint and too tired to even pray. I’ve questioned in my heart whether or not God will reject me forever, whether His promises have failed, and whether He’s forgotten to be merciful and compassionate.

I’m sure if you’re honest with yourself, you’ve been here too. So as I was reading this Psalm I was feeling pretty vindicated and affirmed in my complaining. But abruptly in the middle of this Psalm, the script flips.

Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. – vv. 10-15

Asaph (the dude who wrote this little ditty) will go on to talk about the ways God specifically intervened and rescued the people of God in the book of Exodus.

I want to emphasize the way Asaph combats the feelings of hopelessness, bitterness, anger, and sorrow in his heart. He does so by appealing to the times when God rescued His people through His power and might.

Christians are pretty much the most forgetful people ever. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times God has shown His power and might in our lives, we still end up questioning His love and goodness the next time things aren’t going according to plan.

I write this blog not to condemn you, or myself (because this forgetfulness was literally me this very morning). I write it to convict and encourage you to take this Psalm to heart, and practice what I think is shown here to be a worthwhile endeavor. Reflect on and praise God for the ways He has moved in your life. This decade. This year. This month. This week. This very day.

In the last three months, God took me out of a ministry situation where I was almost constantly alone and put me in a place much closer to family, my fiancee, my friends. A place where I am able to work daily with a team and am given opportunities to grow, lead, and serve. This was a work of God in my life that I constantly doubted and wasn’t sure He would come through on. This alone is proof from this past year that He is good. The list could also easily be much much longer.

Make it personal for you. Write down and record the ways that God has rescued, redeemed, and moved in your life this past year.

It’s okay to not be okay some days. It’s okay to let out all your hurt and pain to the Lord who cares deeply for you. But don’t stay there. Praise God for the ways that He has moved.

In His Name,

Nathan Roach.

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