Growing up, I had this mistaken idea that real men don’t cry. Well, I don’t agree with that anymore. There are times in my life where I find myself crying in the middle of the night. Most of these are actually talking to God after the midnight hours. I have cried out a few times that I could not possibly keep count. In fact, I think that God and I have a standing appointment at about 3:30 in the morning (smile). Somehow at around that time, I just wake up.
I learned from pastor Jack Hayford years ago that whenever he wakes up at night, he considers it as God waking him up and wishing to talk to him.
In getting to know several Christians, I find great comfort in knowing that I am not the only one spending a few sleepless nights in despair.
The other day, I was reading Psalm 77 and found the writer saying the same thing.
“I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted.” (Psalm 77:2)
Perhaps you asked these same questions – shared these same doubts? The Psalmist continues on in his despair…
“Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion?” (Psalm 77:7-9).
During times of trials and afflictions – when God seems so distant – it is easy to slip into despair and feel that God has forgotten us. BUT when we experience great despair and doubt the faithfulness of God – when we find ourselves in the same place as the Psalmist – then we need to do as he did – RECALL AND REMEMBER what God has done.
“But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.” (Psalm 77:11-12)
Are you in that place of despair and doubt? Then RECALL AND REMEMBER.
Recall all that God has done for His people as is recorded in the Scriptures.
Turn to the pages of the Bible and REMEMBER all the mighty works of God. Recall the times that God has worked in your life and the ones you love. Remember all the times that you know – without a shadow of a doubt – that God was present and active in your life.
Recall the promises of God for you and remember when God was faithful to fulfill those promises to you.
Then remember the hope that we all have, as precious children of God in Christ, because of the Lord’s great love, compassion and faithfulness.
The prophet Jeremiah was a man full of distress and worries. He wrote these words so we can get encouraged. “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (LAMENTATIONS 3:19-21)
In the New Testament, remembrance is just as vital. In fact, one of the functions of the Holy Spirit–without trying to make the third person of the Trinity sound so mechanical– is to help believers remember.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you (John 14:26).
Remembering all that God has done for us is foundational for living the Christian life. For instance, how can we be forgiving when we forget the pardon of God purchased at Calvary? How can we have the motivation to sacrifice for others’ sake when we don’t remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ?
And so if you find yourself wide awake at night and cannot sleep. Perhaps God wants to hear from you. Perhaps God wants you to listen to him. Either way, remembering what God has done through Jesus Christ and meditating on what God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit continues to do for us giving us hope for a much better life and future.