“I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked: “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again?”” (Psalm 77.1-7)
Asking God for help is a common refrain in the Psalms. Even outside of the Psalms, calling out to God to fix a problem is common. Here, Asaph puts words to weariness in waiting. Waiting- on what? God to act. How easy it is to forget that time continues to tick along after the prayer and before the resolution for so many of God’s people (including ourselves).
Can we first take a moment to appreciate that we are never told what Asaph is asking for help with, or about? Is he sick or injured? Has a loved one died? Did a valued musician quit? Has his home been burgled? Did he write a stinker of a song, thus endangering his employment? It is not told to us, and allows us to apply the teaching of this song to the things with which we require help. Whatever problems you are losing sleep over- this Psalm is for you. And the early statement is a doozy- Wait.
Asaph acknowledges something believers can sympathize with all too well; God can, but when? I know that God is going to provide everything I need for this life (Matthew 6.32). I have no doubt that my God has my best interests in mind (Romans 8.28). I am certain He is working to complete good works in me and through me (Philippians 1.6). But so often God gifts His blessings wrapped in a lesson of steadfastness and patience. So Asaph’s words, as phrased by King Julian, are “how long is this going to take?” Verse 2- Asaph is not comforted. Verse 3- time is passing without resolution. Verse 4- God delays over nights. By the time Asaph gets to Verse 7 he is asking if God is going to delay “forever”. God waits for us to be certain man could not do what He is about to do. The sea is too rough, Lazarus is too dead, my problem is too overwhelming. But God is bigger than any problem.