On overcoming difficulty
Tim Keller on
Psalm 77: 1– 4.
1 I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. 2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. 3 I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. 4 You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDITATION.
The psalmist faces some unnamed suffering and distress (verse 2). In response he meditates (verses 3, 6, 11, and 12). The word “meditate” can be translated as “to muse,” a word related to “music.” When we put words to music, they go right to the heart. When we meditate, we work the truth down until it affects the heart. This is the key to handling difficulty. The psalmist is not just being a stoic and gritting his teeth till the storm passes. Nor is he simply venting his feelings. He redirects his thoughts and feelings toward the truth about God. His first effort, here in verses 1– 4, doesn’t seem to have helped much. So this is not the work of a moment, and learning it takes a lifetime.
Lord, your disciples asked you to teach them to pray— but I also ask you to teach me how to meditate on your Word. Give me the patience and habits of mind that can mark and notice, savor and relish, and inwardly digest your words. Let them dwell in me richly. Amen.