Last week I shared that a mark of a maturing saint is one who when he realizes he is in a trough begins to praise God in anticipation of the blessings which are coming! I believe a keyword in this statement is realizes. Once we realize that we are in a trough, what will help us turn our mourning into praise? In a word: meditation.
Notice Asaph’s words at the beginning of Psalm 77. Twice he says he “cried out” to God. This literally means that he called aloud, not caring who heard him. It wasn’t a whimper, but Asaph said he was “distressed.” As soon as he realized the distressed state he was in, notice the words of meditation in the next four verses:
- remembered (2x)
- mused (2x)
Asaph also began to ask himself questions, all of which have the obvious answer “NO”:
- Will the Lord reject me forever? NO!
- Will He never show His favor again? NO!
- Has His unfailing love vanished forever? NO!
- Has His promise failed for all time? NO!
- Has God forgotten to be merciful? NO!
- Has He in anger withheld His compassion? NO!
Again, Asaph meditates (notice the words thought, remember, meditate, and consider once again in the next three verses). His conclusion leads him not to self-pity, but to praising God.
Asaph taught us that when we get our eyes off ourselves we can see what God is doing in us, around us, and through us.
One lesson I learned in a very dark night time of my life: Who my true friends are. When all my “fans” stopped cheering and started jeering, I ended up in a very dark place. But as soon as I realized the valley I was in and began to meditate on God’s presence even in this dark place, I began to see what was happening around me. One of the things I saw were two men who stood up for me against all the foes attacking me. They stepped in when all my “fans” stepped away.
The apostle Paul had the same realization in the dark night of his Roman prison cell. He stated, “at my first defense no one came to my support.” But he also saw those who stood by his side: Luke, Timothy, and Mark.
Dark times can quickly lead us to self-pity UNLESS we will realize we are in a dark place and begin to meditate on all that God says in His Word about His faithfulness. Once we get our eyes off ourselves and onto Him, we will begin to see the lessons God is teaching and the amazing things He is accomplishing.
I can be thankful IN the night because the dark nights have shown me my true friends.
If you’ve missed any of the messages in this series, you can find them all by clicking here.