Moving from Gloom to Gratitude
Moving from Gloom to Gratitude
In Psalm 77, the psalmist didn’t feel grateful. He felt gloomy.
Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?
Charles Spurgeon understood this condition, both pastorally and personally. He wrote:
“Spiritual darkness of any sort is to be avoided, and not desired; and yet, surprising as it may seem to be, it is a fact that some of the best of God’s people frequently walk in darkness; ... some of them are wrapped in a sevenfold gloom at times, and to them neither sun, nor moon, nor star appears. As the pastor of a large church, I have to observe a great variety of experiences, and I note that some of whom I greatly love and esteem, who are, in my judgment, among the very choicest of God’s people, nevertheless, travel most of the way to heaven by night... They are on their way to eternal light, and yet they walk in darkness. Heirs of a measureless state of bliss, they are now without the small change and spending money of comfort which would make their present existence delightful. It is idle to attempt to judge a man’s real character before God by his present state of feeling.”
There are times when God’s people feel as if God has slammed the door on his compassion. That’s where the psalmist was: “When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints” (Psalm 77:2).
But then he gets a hold of himself. It’s as if he’s in the middle of a litany of sorrows, when he says: “Stop! Cut the tape! Silence! It’s time to stop listening to myself — I need to start preaching to myself.”
I remember when my girls were little, they used to love watching Anne of Green Gables. (OK, I’ll admit it: I enjoyed the movie myself!). One of my favorite lines is when Anne Shurley, in typical melodramatic fashion, blurts out: “I am in the depths of despair.” Her Aunt Murilla — a staunch Calvinist whose unwavering confidence in God’s providence makes her unsympathetic to these blasts of emotional fervor — will have none of that. Aunt Murilla reproves Anne sternly: “To despair is to turn your back on God.”
I love it when the psalmist moves from gloom to gratitude. How does he do it? He takes his eyes off his circumstances, no matter how miserable they feel, and he redirects his gaze to the eternally good and faithful Rock of Ages.
Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” 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. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?
No matter how you feel this Thanksgiving, may your heart be filled with thankfulness as you remember the deeds of the LORD and his unfailing love toward those who trust in the Name of Jesus. When your heart is under the influence of the gospel, gloom will always give way to gratitude.
Gratefully and gladly serving you,
Pastor David Sunday