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Crises: Five things to know about Psalm 77

Updated: Apr 2, 2021



You’re going to have a crisis. “Too late, been there already,” you say. My answer is---You’re going to have a crisis. Another one. I know that’s bad news. But is it? Yes, okay it is but there are things to help you navigate it better than you did last time when you broke down in the middle of the grocery store sobbing uncontrollable and running for the door like there was a fire. Wait, that was me. So, we both will navigate the next one better.

I have found that we don’t often think clearly in a crisis which explains why we also may look to many different things to get us through hard times. Some look to people for strength, others escape through various means (alcohol, binge-watching, exercise), while others run to God. I suggest the latter (more about that in a minute.) No wonder we can’t think straight because when we experience a red-alarm, high-alert crises all of a sudden life as we know it seemingly stops, uncertainties emerge, anger sets in, breathing is difficult, and we are just not sure what to do or where to go. In such times our thoughts immediately turn to God and we may whisper in the depth of our hearts or scream from top of our lungs, “How could God let this happen?” We can hardly ever get away from thinking of God in a negative manner while enduring pain, but I would like to suggest inviting Him into the equation of your crises in a way that better reflects the God of the Bible and in a way that will actually help you. I think Psalm 77 is a wonderful place to begin. Read it. Go ahead, it is short. You can see it gives us some clear principles to help us.


Principle 1: Run toward God not Away from Him


Notice the Psalmist began with, “I cry out to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.” First, he starts with God not the problem. He does not zero in on only the problem but immediately cries out to God. Like Job did (Job 1). Focusing on the problem alone often enlarges the crises to unmanageable proportions. Seeking escape only causes more difficulties and depression. Depending on people can lead to despair (this does not mean you should not seek counseling—we all need godly counselors in our lives.) Running to God ultimately brings rest and running away from God brings ruin.


Second, running to God means you are running to the God of the Bible not a god you imagine in your head because of your experiences. Notice that the Psalmist is saying the same thing about God that God says about Himself in other passages (Jer. 29:12-13.) “He will hear me,” is an important thing to understand when your world is crashing down. It is quite a thing to be “heard.” When was the last time you spoke to someone and they actually “heard” you --not “listened” to you? Lots of people listen but few “hear.” To actually hear someone means you actively seek to understand not only what that person is saying and the meaning they wish to convey, but it also means to seek to understand that person. God hears. God understands you and the circumstance surrounding you. He hears and knows you.


Third, running to God is an inward pursuit. “I think of God…I meditate” (vs. 3.) During a crisis we can be ruled by the event so much that we forget to even think! This is the moment to let your thoughts be ruled by Scripture and the truth of who God is and who you are ——NOT to be ruled by the pain and suffering you are experiencing. Crying out to God and thinking rightly about Him is the process of inviting God into the equation of your crises. Who better to be by your side than God Almighty? No one—that’s who. He is the one who makes a difference, intervenes, and gives hope and peace. He is the reason we are alive, He is object of our worship, the fundamental purpose of our existence. So, run to Him, there you will find comfort.


Principle 2: Consider your whole life


Going through troubling times will drive you to the very basics of life. “Why am I here,” “where have I been,” “what is the purpose in living.” The Psalmist reflects upon his life in verses 4-6 when he says, “I consider days of old, years long past.” This brings continuity to your life which helps to connect the dots to where you are right now. To remember your life is essential to making connections to your present existence and future life. This draws you out of the immediate pain of the circumstance to help you see days that were perhaps better and times which made more sense. So, he “pondered” and “meditated” on these things---reminiscing as it were, with God, about his whole life. Consider your whole life.


Principle 3: Ask the hard questions—talk to Him


Experiencing any kind of deep pain will often cause one to ask God some serious questions –like, “Have you left me alone or rejected me, Lord,” (v. 7) “Do you even care,” (v.8) “God- have You forgotten me,” (v.9.) These thoughts come so naturally to us. It’s okay to be honest with God in how you feel. This is being “real” and “raw” with Him. He can handle it. These questions reflect the reality that we know deep down that God is no small part of our existence. He is the final answer and the One who can do what he wants, when He wants, and how He wants. We don’t know what to do with that information when we are suffering because we automatically know God could have prevented THAT from happening to us or our loved one. But here we are, broken by a terrible or even tragic event. Talk to Him about it.


Principle 4: Pondering Truth not the experience


Do you realize God has given you all the information you need to know about Him in the Bible? So, you can ask the above questions, but the answers are found in the Scriptures. Notice the Psalmist thoughts begin to change in verse 10 when he begins to ponder on the things He remembers about God. “I will remember the LORD’S works,” “…His ancient wonders,” “…all You have done…and on Your actions.” This not only expands his thought to things greater than the pain of his experience, but these truths tell him that God has done many former wanders, works, and that God does indeed take action. This heals the soul when it is horribly wounded. To know God and to speak truth about Him to your soul anchors you in a way nothing else can. There is meaning in it. There is purpose to be had in that space. God is working behind the curtain of your life but all you see is the play. And sometimes it is a tragic Shakespearian kind of play. Ponder the truth not the experience.



Principle 5: Declare Truth’s not Lies


Finally, declaring truth is preferable than declaring lies. Every time. Understand that you speak to yourself more than every person who has ever spoken to you (or ever will.) So, you better say true things about God, yourself, and your situations. Just think if someone followed you around all day telling you lies about God or about you or even someone you love. How would you feel at the end of the day? Angry, depressed, in despair? Lies have a way of nesting into our brain while replaying over and over like a recorder. Don’t allow it. The Psalmist didn’t. He said things like…

1. God, you are holy (v. 13)

2. What god is great like God? (v. 13b)

3. You are the God who works wonders (v.14)

4. You revealed your strength among the peoples (v.14b)

5. With power you redeemed your people (v. 15)

6. The water saw You and trembled (v. 16)

7. The depths shook (16b)

8. The clouds poured down water (16b)

9. The storm clouds thundered (17)

10. You led your people like a flock (v.20)

These are things that God says about Himself. So, you should agree with God about what He tells you about Himself. Don’t you hate it when someone thinks something about you that is not true? Our response to such misconceptions is that “that person obviously does not know me.” So, declare truths does not lies.


There is a path in the darkness and God will provide a way. Cry out to Him and allow Him to show you who He is and to help you through the storm. You will be glad you did.





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