Today's lectionary reading: Psalm 77; Proverbs 30:1-9; Matthew 4:1-11
Selected passage for reflection: Psalm 77 (NIV)
For the director of music. For Jeduthun. Of Asaph. A psalm.
1I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
2When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
3I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
4You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
5I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
6I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
7“Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
8Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
9Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
10Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
13Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
14You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
15With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
16The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
17The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
18Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
19Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
20You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Recently I was living through a really bad week. Oh let’s be honest, things haven’t changed that much since, but I felt the weight of it more that week. I was trying to keep the peace with an octogenarian mother with dementia, living with my college-aged children who are forced to be home because of the pandemic, living out of boxes due to never-ending house renovations, and body-pains flaring up from a rear-end car collision from over a year ago. I was not in a happy place. I walked around with a bad attitude because nothing was happening as I thought it should. It was during this time that a friend reached out to me to ask me to write a Lenten reflection. When I told my husband about this request he laughed and said, “You are not there right now.” That was also my initial reaction but then I thought again and decided that this was exactly what I needed right now. No matter, what is going on in my life, I have to make time to remember who God is and who I am in God.
As we look toward the Easter celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, I wonder how many of us are in a place where we are not feeling very celebratory. Maybe you are tired of the suffering going on around you. Perhaps you simply aren’t feeling the favor of God in your life. Possibly you have cried out to God and have no more tears left. As Christians, we believe that the joy of the Lord is our strength, but sometimes we can still find it difficult to push through. In today’s scripture, the psalmist recalls fervently crying out to God and feeling rejected. But eventually he reflects and writes, “Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God?” (Psalm 77:13 NIV). In the midst of hardship and trouble, God is still God. Praise Him in advance!
Visualize for a moment: What would it look like if you walked around with an attitude of victory in the midst of a storm? What would you wear? What would you say? How can your trial change into a testimony about the goodness of God?
For deeper thought: What did it mean to you when you read “God is still God”? What have you been crying out to God about? What does the Bible say about your situation? Are there any lessons that God is teaching you along the way? Can you think of a time that God brought you through a trying time?
I come humbly before you in all of my imperfections to honor you Lord God Almighty. O God, You are my God; with deepest longing I will seek You. God, please forgive me where I have wronged and teach me Your ways. As I look forward to the Easter celebration, please help me to remember your faithfulness to me and the gift of Your Son Jesus.
In Jesus’ name
About the Author
Jillian Evans resides in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and three children. She is passionate about ministering to children, youth and their families. Jillian holds degrees from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and North Park Theological Seminary as well as a certificate in Spiritual Direction from C. John Weborg Center for Spiritual Direction at NPTS.