The Psalmist cries, "has God forgotten me?!" Here it is obvious that he is not talking about problems his country, or his people are facing. But, Asaph is talking about his own personal struggles. "I can't sleep at night...I don't know what to say anymore...has God kicked me out?" Maybe he can't rest until his soul rests on God. Perhaps he can't speak until he hears God speak peace to his heart. But, before you think Asaph is backslid, look back at the first part where he began with prayer. No, he's not out of tune with God. This church-going man doesn't understand the tack God has taken, he is confused about events in his own life, events which he feels powerless to change. But, somewhere beyond the cruelty of his circumstances, he knows that God is there. Though he is complaining, he complains to the Almighty God. Who better to turn our complaints and sorrows to, than the One who can provide sustenance and succor on the harsh seas of circumstances?
Where do we turn when we experience overwhelming struggles? What about when the troubles of life and the daily grind become a heavy burden? Do we look for vacation destinations? Recreation? Do we shake off our sorrows in amusement? The best, most satisfying remedy for trouble is prayer. It seems the struggles keep lessening and lessening until they are no more, as the Gryphon said in Alice and Wonderland, speaking of lessons in his school under the sea. If you've never read the book of Alice's Adventures, try it online. It is almost an allegory for overwhelming problems. In the end, you see that Alice experiences these confusing ordeals, and twists of reality only as long as she will tolerate them. It is when she becomes fed up with the nonsense that she finds the cards swirling around her head, then she wakes up back on the riverbank with leaves fluttering in her face. As experienced warriors, we must realize that there comes a point where we have to stand up and shove the enemy out of our face. Jesus said in Matthew 11:12 ...the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
In the third stanza, Asaph seems to decide that this is simply his lot in life, ("this is my infirmity.") He decides to remember God's past provision. He reminds himself that he can always find God at church. Then suddenly, he is awash in God. He is overcome with what God has done in the past. He knew God would deliver. His praise had served to encourage his own soul. And, that is the best survival tactic...learning to encourage yourself. Then when the storm comes, and your mate is tossed in the storm with you, and neither of you can tell the stem from the stern in your little boat, encourage yourself in God. Speak peace in your storm. When His friends awoke Him in terror of the waves, Jesus looked at the sea and said, "Peace, be still." Seize Asaph's battle cry: "I will remember the works of the LORD!"
I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my
voice; and he gave ear unto me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my
sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. I
remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed.
Selah. You hold my eyes from closing: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I
have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to
remembrance my song in the night: I commune with my own heart: and my spirit
made diligent search. Will the Lord cast off forever? and will he be favorable
no more? Is his mercy ceased forever? does his promise fail forevermore? Has God
forgotten to be gracious? has he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah. And
I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of
the most High. I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember
your wonders of old. I will meditate also on all your work, and talk of your
doings. Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?
You are the God that does wonders: you have declared your strength among the
people. You have with your arm redeemed your people, the sons of Jacob and
Joseph. Selah. The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw you; they were afraid:
the depths also were troubled. The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a
sound: your arrows also went abroad. The voice of your thunder was in the
heaven: the lightnings lighted up the world: the earth trembled and shook. Your
way is in the sea, and your path in the great waters, and your footsteps are not
known. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.