The Six Questions of Psalm 77

  • Feb. 25, 2016
  • #8824

Asking God honest, angry questions turns our hearts away from despair and toward Him for relief and hope.   

The Six Questions of Psalm 77

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada to tell you about a Psalm that changed my life.

Back when I was in the hospital and still reeling from the news that I’d be a quadriplegic for the rest of my life; back then, I fell into such a deep depression. I couldn’t fathom life with total paralysis. What’s more, my depression turned to anger, anger against God for allowing all this to happen. I felt there was no way He could possibly understand my disappointment… I felt so cheated.

But then someone showed me Psalm 77. And it was the words of that Psalm that God used to really touch my heart. Psalm 77, verses 7 to 9, are like six rapid fire questions aimed at the Lord. Questions filled with hurt and disappointment, because the psalmist cries out, “Will the Lord reject us 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?” Oh my goodness, those six questions are packed with explosive power. And as I read them over and over, I was amazed that there was a Psalm with which I could totally identify; oh my goodness, the Bible understands me! God understands exactly how I feel. I began to see how the psalmist’s despair turned godly when it turned God-ward. And the Holy Spirit was challenging me: ‘Joni, can you do the same? Will you stop turning away from God and start turning toward Him?

Friend, something awesome happens when we choose the direct line to the Lord. My friend, Dr. Dan Allender, puts it this way. He says, “The irony of questioning God is that it honors him: it turns our hearts away from ungodly despair toward a passionate desire to comprehend him.” Don’t you love that? Looking back, my blunt, frank and honest questions – even ugly questions –they honored God. As I looked further into Psalm 77, I could see that the psalmist’s questions serve as a reality check, exposing the fantasy of a blissful world. Those six questions cut to the core and they destroy any illusion that the world can ever really keep its promises (for you well know the world can’t, right?). Psalm 77 should shake us awake, reminding us not to get too comfortable in a world destined for decay.

The Lord used Psalm 77 as an intriguing way of getting me back into God's Word. As time passed, I became less interested in the despair of Psalm 77 and became more interested in the other 149 psalms which hinted more of hope and better days. Oh, friend, something suffering-shaking happens when we hand-pick a psalm to voice our heart-wrenching questions like it says in Hebrews, Chapter 4, “For the word of God is living and active.” And when we find a psalm and use it as a prayer, we are speaking God’s language, we are echoing His own words back to him. When we wrap our anguish around a biblical Psalm, we’re searching for Him. And when we seek Him, we have the assurance that we will find Him.

I have written more about Psalm 77 in a pamphlet called “Anger, Aim It in the Right Direction” and I would love to send it to you as a gift. It’ll help you out of despair and show you where to find relief and resolution in God's Word. Just go to joniandfriends.org and click on my radio page and ask for my pamphlet on anger. And remember, when you wrap your anguish around a Psalm; when you speak God's Word back to Him, it’s a way of searching for Him. And when you seek Him, rest assured, you will always find Him.

Photo: nationalperinatal.org

© Joni and Friends

 

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