Daily Devotion – Psalm 13 – Hope In the Past

How reminders of our past shape our future

"But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord because he has dealt bountifully with me." Psalm 13:5-6 ESV

Are You Feeling Depressed

Got the blues? Feeling down and out? Wallowing in a little self-pity? Some days are like that, and then of course, there are days filled with actual tragedy and genuine suffering. The practice of remembering God’s goodness in the past brings healing to the bleakest of days.

Psalm 13 “How long, O Lord” Will you forget me forever? …How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all day?”

Can you hear the cry of the psalmist, David? Sorrow in your heart all day? Have you ever felt such anguish? So hurt, so disappointed, so hopeless, so sad. The picture here is certainly dismal, a sorrowful heart that will not relent. Seemingly, a sorrow that will never end. A loved one is gone. He will not return. The reality of the loss seems too great to bear. Crushing anxiety that invades our core, brought on by the weight of uncertainty.

The doctor says, “cancer” or “terminal” and suddenly our minds are consumed with fear. The situations that cause overwhelming sadness are endless.

Hear the words of David in Psalm in 13:3, “Consider me and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.”

Translation: If you don’t answer me Lord, or bring comfort or courage, I might just die from this feeling of hopelessness!

A Sudden Shift in Attitude

Then, something interesting happens.

Psalm 13:5-6: “BUT, I have TRUSTED in your steadfast love; my heart shall REJOICE in your salvation. I will SING to the Lord because he HAS dealt bountifully with me.”

We heard the despair in his words. How long will I endlessly suffer? Then, there is a sudden shift. What brings about this spark of hope?

History.

History with the Lord, his Savior.

David’s whole attitude shifts, simply because he remembers how God has provided for him in the past. He has trusted the Lord, he will trust again. He has eternal salvation to be thankful for, and he will rejoice. Praise shall come to his lips, he will sing to the Lord, because of God’s history of graciousness to him.

He doesn’t know what the future holds, but he can rejoice in the past. The past is a reminder of God’s truth realized in our lives.

  • We have lacked in the past, God has provided.
  • We have ailed in the past, God has healed.
  • We have mourned in the past; God has brought joy.
  • We have failed in the past; God has redeemed us.
  • We have sinned in the past; God has forgiven us.

God’s Faithfulness in the Past

So, why the switch? Remembering God’s faithfulness in the past brought hope for David’s future.

One of my favorite stories involving God’s people preparing to remember how God provided for them, involves Joshua entering the promise land.

Practically, as part of our journey with the Lord, we can practice the art of remembering. Joshua placed stones in the river Jordan and the Israelites carried stones with them to commemorate crossing the river into the promised land. Sometimes, there is a tangible relic that we can keep with us to remember a defining moment with the Lord. (Joshua 4)

Practical Things to Help You Have Hope

A prayer journal serves as a great reminder of our spiritual journey with the Lord. Looking back, we can see how God answered our prayers.

A well placed jar in the home can be a place to write down things we are thankful for, even kids can participate. Visiting the jar throughout the year serves as a reminder of God’s goodness.

Maybe you scrapbook, or post pictures of your journey with the Lord on some type of social media that will allow you to revisit those memories.

A great way to flood your mind with memories is to make a list. Take a minute to write down how God has blessed you in the past. There is a thread of thankfulness in this practice. That is a message for another day, but a heart filled with thanks recognizes the past with gladness, and chooses to focus on the answered prayers and blessings.

Remembering how God has dealt graciously with us in the past serves as a ladder, leading us out of the pit of despair.

Whatever your state of mind is today, may your spirit be lifted by the simple practice of delighting in God’s faithfulness in your life. He is the same yesterday, today and forever, so you can expect His goodness of the past in your future too.

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