My wife and I very recently spent the weekend with some dear friends whom we knew over 30 years ago when we served together in Pakistan. The occasion was the wedding of their youngest son, and there were plenty of opportunities to reminisce with both the parents and their adult children about the “good old days.”
Remembering the past, both the good times and the bad, are a very normal and useful part of being human. As we read the Bible, we realize that much of it is history and we can learn from the stories of the past. In the Psalms we often read of the psalmist exhorting us to remember – remember God and all his attributes and remember what he has done. These two psalms are no exception. In fact, remembering is part of the way the psalmist seeks to encourage himself during this time when he felt depressed by his situation.
Listen to what he has to say:
4 These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
among the festive throng…
6 My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
8 By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life…
2 You are God my
4 …I will go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.
5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Saviour and my God.
A lot of things have happened since those years in Pakistan, and although we need to move on, and we all have, it is good and helpful to remember God’s faithfulness during those days. And to acknowledge how he has led us, provided for us, answered our prayers and that now he is doing the same for the next generation. They too are having their own sets of challenges, including one having difficulties in a pastoral role and others living in tough conditions in a developing nation, but our God is the same. As he was with us, he will be with them.
May he continue to be for each one of us, our God, our joy and delight. May we continue to, whatever the circumstances and our feelings at the time, put our hope in God, to praise him, our Saviour and our God.
Father, you are the God of all comfort, may we trust in you no matter what we are going through. Help us to remember who you are, to remind ourselves of your great love and goodness. To acknowledge all that you have done for us and press on, praising you. Amen.