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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

From Torment to Triumph

"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?"
- Psalm 77:7-9 NIV

I have read Psalm 77 many times over the years, but the last time the Lord led me to it, He opened my eyes and heart to some of its deeper meanings in life-changing ways. This poetic psalm begins with a description of the intense emotions that the author is experiencing in dark and difficult times. He says: "I cry to the Lord; I call and call to Him. Oh, that He would listen. I am in deep trouble and I need His help so much. All night long I pray, lifting my hands to heaven, pleading. There can be no joy for me until He acts. I think of God and moan, overwhelmed with longing for His help. I cannot sleep until You act. I am too distressed even to pray!" (77:1-4 TLB) This poor man is desperate, and he knows that the Lord is his only hope. He is suffering pain and anguish over God’s apparent inaction in response to his urgent and unrelenting pleas. As his bewilderment intensifies, his sleep is affected, and he eventually loses his ability even to pray.

In the next few verses, we get a glimpse of the source of the author’s distress. "I keep thinking of the good old days of the past, long since ended. Then my nights were filled with joyous songs. I search my soul and meditate upon the difference now. Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will He never again be favorable? Is His lovingkindness gone forever? Has His promise failed? Has He forgotten to be kind to one so undeserving? Has He slammed the door in anger on His love?" (Psalm 77:5-9 TLB) Here, the psalmist is tormenting himself by meditating on "the good old days of the past," which he fears were better than anything that lies ahead for him. He becomes filled with despair as he starts telling himself that God has abandoned him, and that his best days are behind him. He is stripped of all hope.

He finally comes to his senses by making the decision to look at God’s past mercies as only the beginning of the Lord’s interventions on his behalf. "I recall the many miracles He did for me so long ago. Those wonderful deeds are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about them. O God, Your ways are holy. Where is there any other as mighty as You? You are the God of miracles and wonders! You STILL demonstrate Your awesome power." (Psalm 77:12-14 TLB) I capitalized the word, STILL, here because it is the key to this man’s moving from doubt and despair, to a fresh sense of hope and expectation. God is STILL in the miracle-working business. And His promises are true. When we make the decision to put our trust and hope in God and His Word, it is just a matter of time before we witness Him working greater wonders on our behalf than He ever did before.

The psalmist concludes with a recollection of the Exodus, and how God miraculously parted the Red Sea in order to work deliverance for His people. (Psalm 77:15-18) His final verse says: "Your road led by a pathway through the sea—a pathway no one knew was there!" (Psalm 77:19 TLB) In other words, though we may not see any way the Lord could possibly bring our desires and dreams to pass, He will nonetheless make a way, even if He has to move heaven and earth to do it.

You are not reading this message by accident today. God wants you to know that your best days are not behind you—they are right out in front of you. But in order for you to step into these divine plans, you must refuse to dwell on the past, and begin looking ahead to the future. When you do, know that you are opening the door to better and brighter things than you have ever known.

Prayer: Lord, today I choose to stop focusing on the past, and to start looking ahead to the future. Increase my faith, and help me to do my part by feeding on Your Word and Your promises each day. Thank You that as I reject all doubtful and despairing thoughts, You will move me into all of the opportunities and blessings that You reserve for those who trust in You!

- J. M. Farro


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