As we approach the end of another year, many of us are setting goals for 2024. When setting goals, we are looking ahead for what is yet to be accomplished. We also locate where we are, and consider what we need to do to get where we want to go. If we aren’t careful, we could easily despise where we are right now, forgetting or neglecting what it took to get us to our present.
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Psalm 77:11-12
As followers of Christ, we are equipped (Ephesians 1:3) and empowered (Philippians 1:6) to grow daily in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18). So why do we so often feel discouraged in our current situations?
Some of the greatest hindrances to our spiritual growth are daily distractions—anything that takes our focus off of the LORD and diverts our attention onto our personal cares, comforts, and conveniences. We start each day with good intentions but soon find ourselves bombarded with information that clutters our thoughts, fuels negative emotions, and derails our growth. In Psalm 77 we learn an ancient and powerful tool to combat these distractions—remembrance.
Psalm 77 opens with the psalmist, Asaph, acknowledging that he’s in a tough place. His world seems to be falling apart. God seems distant, and Asaph doesn’t know what to do. Even if we aren’t in as drastic a situation as this, we can all relate to being overwhelmed with external stressors. When in distress, we tend to try to manipulate our circumstances to be what we want them to be. Asaph shows us a better way.
“I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.”
As we remember and reflect on God’s faithfulness, our current worries, fears, and anxieties begin to fade into the background. God doesn’t necessarily remove them; he gives us an eternal perspective with which to view them. Too often we dwell on our present, personal challenges when God’s perspective includes nations and generations.
Notice Asaph references “deeds of the Lord” and “wonders of old". Specifically, he recalls how God showed his power on behalf of his people through the exodus from Egypt and parting the Red Sea. These are tangible demonstrations of God’s victory over the forces of chaos and oppression. And the God who parted the sea is still present and active in our lives as well.
In the next verse, our psalmist gives us more helpful direction: “I will ponder all your work and meditate on your mighty deeds.”
The words ponder (think about something carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion) and meditate (think deeply or carefully about something for a period of time) and emphasize that remembering is active and intentional. It’s a discipline that helps us disconnect from worry and fear by connecting us to the grace and hope we have in God. God isn’t distant or uncaring; he’s the personal Redeemer who calms, orders, and transforms our inner world. God has moved throughout all of history, and he’s moved throughout your story as well. As we intentionally ponder and meditate on his works and deeds, we position ourselves to intimately experience his grace and peace.
Take a few moments and reflect on the ways God has moved in your life this past year. Write them down and then spend time in prayer thanking Him for all He’s done.
Now, take a moment and reflect on the obstacles and struggles you’re facing now. Pray in faith that the God who got you to this point will get you through it as well. How we remember our past transforms our present and directs our future. Remembering God’s goodness moves us to respond to our world in hope rather than fear. Remembering God’s love for us fuels our love for others. The discipline of remembering is refreshing.
- Boo Scott