Life can be hard, especially in these last days. Sometimes we can feel literally surrounded by our enemies who attack us from every side. Attacks coming at us in waves so large and numerous that we can barely catch our breath before the next one hits. These enemy attacks can come in many forms such as personal illness or the illness of a family member. They can come in the form of marriage trouble, family strife, or even addictions. Perhaps your battle is at the workplace with a boss or coworker who just won’t stop berating you. Financial woes, job loss, and worries about basic necessities such as food, housing, and energy are becoming more common as inflation increases and a deep recession/depression loom.
What do we do when we are under attack? Some people will try to ignore the attacks until they are in so far over their head, that they see no way out. Others will try to numb the pain through illicit drugs, alcohol, pornography or some other sinful behavior. Many will just muddle through as best as they can as they sink deeper and deeper into depression and anxiety.
Many people recognize their inability to change a situation, so they resort to taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. These may provide some short-term relief; however, a recent study (2022) discovered that antidepressants did very little to improve long-term quality-of-life.
“We found the change in health-related quality of life to be comparable or similar between patients that used antidepressant medications and those who did not use them,” said study lead author Omar Almohammed, an assistant professor of clinical pharmacy at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia.”
“The researchers were “surprised by the results,” he admitted.”In Long Run, Antidepressants Don’t Improve Quality of Life: Study (usnews.com)
What we do when we find ourselves surrounded by enemy attacks speaks directly to what we believe and who we trust.
- If your first response is to take your problem to God (Father/Son/Holy Spirit), then you BELIEVE He can help you. You also believe He CARES about you. This is FAITH.
- If you try everything you can to fix the problem yourself and only go to God because nothing else works, then you might want to rethink your strategy.
- If you NEVER go to God about your problems, then do you believe He can help you in your time of need?
Sometimes believers fail to take their problems to God because they think He is “too busy”, or the problem is “too small” for God. Sometimes God is just the furthest thing from their minds. Sometimes believers will pray for the needs of OTHERS, but they just don’t want to “pray for themselves”. The Bible tells us that God WANTS us to pray for our own needs as well as the needs of others. He WANTS us to go BOLDLY before His Throne of grace asking for help. Not only should we go to the Lord for help, but we need to remain PERSISTENT in prayer, not giving up when we don’t immediately get what we want.
Hebrews 4:16: Therefore let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need.
Luke 11:8: I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.
Embroiled in my own personal battles, which are numerous, I went to the Lord Jesus Christ to seek guidance and comfort. During my prayer-time I am regularly reminded that even though I attack each issue and problem with my best human effort, I am NOT really able to control the outcome. This can be a frustrating realization, but just understanding this helps to calm my anxious soul. The truth is, we cannot (and SHOULD not) control the actions of others or how they view us. Only our own actions, motivations, thoughts and responses are within our control.
We also cannot control the OUTCOME. We can put in our best effort to influence the outcome, but we are not really in control. God (Father/Son/Holy Spirit) is the Only One who fully controls the OUTCOME of each difficulty, trial and situation in which we find ourselves embroiled.
- God is our healer. (Jehovah Rapha)
- God is our provider (Jehovah Jireh).
- God is our deliverer (rescuer). (Jehovah Mephalti)
The question we have to ask ourselves is…What do we do when our souls are in ANGUISH? Do we seek God? Do we TRUST God when we are in our darkest times? Or do we only trust in ourselves? What if we have been asking the Lord to intervene for days, weeks or even YEARS, but the problem remains?
1 Peter 4:12: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though something strange were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that at the revelation of His glory you may also rejoice and be overjoyed
1st Peter chapter 4 tells us not to be surprised at our “fiery ordeals”, as though “something strange is happening to us”. Peter confirms that God USES our trials, our suffering, our difficult situations as a means to TEST our FAITH in Him. Again…Do we TRUST God?
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is the one that confirms God uses ALL THINGS for the good of His children, those who LOVE HIM and are CALLED according to His purposes. This means that if you BELONG to JESUS CHRIST, even your WORST mistake, your WORST sins will ultimately be turned around and used for your GOOD. Hallelujah, Praise the Lord!
The Lord took me to Psalm 77 when considering what seems like endless enemy attacks. Remember, the ENEMIES of the Christian are not “flesh and blood” (people) but are spiritual forces of wickedness that work behind the scenes INFLUENCING people and events (Ephesians 6 :12). These spiritual forces of wickedness (demons/fallen angels) constantly stir up strife, pain and suffering as they seek to kill, steal, and destroy. (John 10:10)
- If someone randomly lashes out at you (verbally) at work for absolutely no reason…they are being influenced by the demonic realm.
- If your children suddenly become unreasonably angry with one another, bicker and fight….they are being influenced by the demonic realm.
- If a temptation is suddenly thrown into your path, the demonic realm is involved
Wherever you find the “deeds of the flesh” that include lust, outbursts of anger, rage, jealousy, envy, sensuality, immorality, you can be assured that the demonic realm is working behind the scenes to cause you harm. These unseen beings “feed” off of our fleshly emotions. 🤢
The Christian is to battle these unseen beings who are negatively influencing the world around us through our prayer, praise and worship to the One True God, Elohim (Father YHWH/Son JESUS/Holy Spirit).
Here is a tip that I learned from a sister in Christ – try Praising Jesus even while in the midst of a fiery trial. If you are sick…Praise Jesus. If you are in the middle of marital strife,……Praise Jesus. If you just got fired from your job…Praise Jesus. You may be asking……Why would I praise Jesus in the midst of THOSE circumstances? We praise Jesus because He is worthy to be Praised regardless of our circumstances. We also praise Jesus because praise, in the midst of a trial, confuses the enemy. 🤔 The enemy (Satan and his “army”) EXPECT us to BLAME and CURSE God when we are in the middle of a terrible trial. That is what they are EXPECTING, that is what they are HOPING (Job 2:9). However, when we do the OPPOSITE, they become CONFUSED and PERPLEXED (James 4:7).
This has the potential to greatly reduce the attack and may also open the door for God (YHWH) to intervene on our behalf.
Psalm 77 is a psalm of lament to remember and reflect on while in a difficult trial. In this Psalm, the psalmist (Asaph) cries out to God BELIEVING that God hears his prayers. As we read Psalm 77 it becomes obvious that Asaph is in terrible pain and stricken with grief. In desperation Asaph cries out to God, but thus far, God seems silent, and his prayers have gone unanswered.
Psalm 77: A Psalm of Asaph.
1: I cried out to God with my voice—
To God with my voice;
And He gave ear to me. 👂🏻
In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord;
My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing;
My soul refused to be comforted.
I remembered God, and was troubled;
I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah
“In the day of his trouble the psalmist did not seek for the diversions of business or recreation, to shake off his trouble that way, but he sought God, and his favour and grace. Those that are under trouble of mind, must not think to drink it away, or laugh it away, but pray it away.”(Henry, cited in Spurgeon)
Asaph’s soul refused to be comforted. He wasn’t looking for superficial comfort. The psalmist was so deep in sorrow that all of the comforts of this world would be of no affect anyway. Only God Himself could comfort Asaph. His spirit was overwhelmed. When the Psalmist remembered God, he was troubled all the more. Why? The Psalmist KNEW that God COULD help but so far, no help had come. 😥
The psalmist’s (Asaph’s) cry was urgent (he cried out in the day of trouble). His cry was active (he stretched out his hands to pray in middle eastern fashion). His prayer was persistent and without ceasing (he continued to lift up his hands in prayer all through the night).
The sense is, “God, I know you are there – why won’t You help me the way I want to be helped?” This is the frustration that many believers feel when we experience what seems to be “unanswered prayers”.
Asaph (the psalmist) does not start his prayer with adoration or thanksgiving. In Psalm 77, Asaph is in so much pain that he launches right into his lament, laying it all out before God. He is saying.. “Where are you God, why is this happening and what will you do about it??” In Psalm 77 Asaph is troubled, sleepless and speechless. He is in DESPAIR!
God HEARS the prayers of His people, but sometimes God’s answer is either “no” or “wait” or “I have something DIFFERENT in mind” that will resolve the situation in a BETTER way than what you can anticipate”. This is often NOT what we WANT to hear. But God’s ways are SO much greater than our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Psalm 77:4: You hold my eyelids open;
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 meditate within my heart,
And my spirit makes diligent search.
“In this psalm we do not know what caused Asaph’s pain. In some psalms we are clearly shown that the lament is due to Israel’s sin or some other cause. But this psalm, in particular, points to every situation in which we might find ourselves.”Maclaren
In the New Testament we are told that Holy Spirit will intercede for us with “groans too deep for words”. Sometimes we have no idea how to even begin a prayer. Sometimes we are in such pain and despair and also confusion that we really do not know HOW to pray according to God’s Will. But the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will make intercession FOR US with groans too deep for us to speak or even understand.
Romans 8:26: Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Throughout the night, Asaph (the psalmist) thinks about how God answered people in ancient times. He even remembers how God has answered his own prayers in the past. He then finds himself wondering ..”why IS God no longer answering my prayers”? God USED to answer Asaph’s prayers. Why is God silent now? Has he fallen out of favor? Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Psalm 77:7: Will the Lord reject forever?
And will He never be favorable again?
8 Has His favor ceased forever?
Has His promise come to an end forever?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious,
Or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion? Selah
10 Then I said, “It is my infirmity,
That the right hand of the Most High has changed.”
Asaph then reminds himself that God does not change. God has not forgotten to be gracious. It is Asaph’s infirmity, his own sinful human condition that has him doubting God.
Many saints (believers) have asked the same questions as Asaph over the course of human HIStory. Have I fallen out of favor? Is God withholding mercy from me? Has He forgotten to be gracious to me? For Asaph, the apparent gap between what he believed and what he felt was painful. Asaph KNEW God COULD fix all of his problems. He KNEW that God COULD wipe away all of his tears right then and there. In-fact, God had helped him many times in his past. But for some reason, God was choosing to allow the current anguish to remain. The apostle Paul had a similar issue that he labeled a “thorn in his flesh”.
2 Corinthians 12:7: And lest I (Paul) should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul asked the Lord THREE TIMES to take away the “thorn in his flesh” that had been sent to him by Satan. You see, the demonic realm (Satan and his minions) is really the reason for all of our sickness and suffering. Human beings tend to think physically, but the physical and spiritual are intrinsically connected. Our sin filled world gives Satan the ability to bring trials into our lives; however, God Almighty (Father/Son/Holy Spirit) is still in full control. Satan has to ask PERMISSION from God to bring a trial in our life.
Luke 22:31: And the Lord (Jesus Christ) said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.
The Lord Jesus Christ refused to remove the “thorn” from Paul’s flesh even though it was in His POWER to do so. Why? The verse “lest I be exalted above measure” indicates that the “thorn” in Paul’s flesh was left there to keep him humble. After asking 3 times and receiving a “no” from God, Paul accepted the trial and even thanked God for allowing him to suffer for the name of Christ. 😲 Paul understood that the thorn in his flesh would ultimately bring GLORY to JESUS, and that in his weakness, the POWER of JESUS CHRIST would be made manifest.
There is always a reason and a purpose for a believer’s suffering. This does not mean that we cannot ASK that the trial be “taken away”, of course we can and should. However, do not despair if God says “no” or even “wait” because He is working out something greater. Paul, who had a much greater understanding of God’s mysteries than most of us have, actually THANKED God for allowing the trials in his life😲 because……
Romans 5:3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, 😲 knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 🕊️
Perseverance, character and hope. If we think about it, the only way to learn perseverance is through suffering. If everything is handed to us easily on a “silver platter” we have no need to learn to persevere and no need to “Trust God“. True faith cannot exist unless it is TESTED. Battle-tested faith of endurance produces in Christians the quality of character. Suffering causes believers to TRUST GOD on a deeper level, and the more we trust God, the most likely we are to consistently make right choices to follow HIM. We become Christians of proven character. Character, too, produces a new quality in us: hope. Hope is confidence that God will deliver what He promised regardless of our current circumstances.
The apostle Peter also took pleasure in his infirmities, persecutions and distresses because he understood that in order to receive God’s strength and blessings, we must become TOTALLY dependent on HIM. This directly flies against our sinful human nature that says “I can do it myself”.
1 Peter 5:10: Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
In Psalm 77, Asaph did not understand that God’s strength was being made perfect in his weakness. This was a revelation given later to the New Testament Apostles and Saints. Asaph, like most of us, was in despair because God had not answered his prayer for help and deliverance the way he wanted. However, perseverance, character and hope were still being instilled in Asaph, whether he realized it or not. Our God works in MYSTERIOUS ways and does indeed use ALL THINGS for the GOOD of those who LOVE HIM and are CALLED according to His purposes.
Psalm 77:11: I shall remember the deeds of the Lord;
I will certainly remember Your wonders of old.
12 I will meditate on all Your work,
And on Your deeds with thanksgiving.
13 Your way, God, is holy;
What god is great like our God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
You have made known Your strength among the peoples.
15 By Your power You have redeemed Your people,
The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
The message of this psalm (Psalm 77) is that to brood on sorrow is to be broken and disheartened, while to see God is to sing on the darkest day. Once we come to know that our years are of His right hand, there is light everywhere.” (G. Campbell Morgan)
Although Asaph’s situation had not changed one bit, he decided to REMEMBER God’s holiness, God’s wonders, God’s POWER. Asaph refocuses his attention OFF of his own personal problems and ONTO God’s previous acts of power and redemption.
Psalm 77:16: The waters saw You, God;
The waters saw You, they were in anguish;
The ocean depths also trembled.
17 The clouds poured out water;
The skies sounded out;
Your arrows flashed here and there.
18 The sound of Your thunder was in the whirlwind;
The lightning lit up the world;
The earth trembled and shook.
19 Your way was in the sea
And Your paths in the mighty waters,
And Your footprints were not known.
20 You led Your people like a flock
By the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Asaph recalled God’s MIGHTY DELIVERANCE of His people out of Egypt. The Israelites did not really know God at this time and yet God still led them out of slavery and bondage in Egypt like a shepherd leads His sheep. At that time God made His Power known. All the nations heard of the God of Israel’s GREAT POWER. As Asaph gets caught up in remembrance of all that God has done for His people, he becomes less aware of his own circumstances and more in AWE of GOD (YHWH). Do you believe God is going to make His Power known…again?
Asaph is developing PERSEVERANCE, CHARACTER and HOPE! The Bible tells us that HOPE never DISAPPOINTS. If you place your hope and trust in God (Father/Son/Holy Spirit), HE will NEVER disappoint you! God may not answer our prayers in the way that WE want…but at the end of the day, we will NOT be disappointed.
If you are struggling with something in your life that is causing you great pain and anguish, cry out to the Lord and believe He HEARS you! Trust in His Promises and focus on His unchanging character. God has not forgotten to be gracious. He has not abandoned you (or me) in our time of need. He is here. He is with us. Jesus said He would NEVER leave or forsake us. He gave HIS LIFE to REDEEM us. ✝️ We can TRUST in JESUS and DEPEND on Him. God’s POWER is made manifest in our WEAKNESS. God will rest HIS STRENGTH on those who see HIM as their GREATEST NEED.
Biblical HOPE is NOT wishful thinking — it is THOUGHTFUL KNOWING.