Every year, my wife (and probably many of you who read this) has a performance review at her job to determine how much of a raise she’ll get. There are a lot of factors, but what her boss is looking at is her track record–does she show consistency in job performance, and is that performance at a high level? Well, the answer to both questions for the last seven years has been “Yes”. Employees with great track records get good raises; those who don’t either get no raise or get a pink slip.
Psalm 77 is all about a track record–God’s track record. The author is under some heavy stress; something has happened in Israel. The author prays and prays, yet it seems like God is off the clock. Look, then, at what he writes in Psalm 77:10 (which, by the way, is a difficult verse to translate–just check several different translations, and they say something different. I think my favorite translation, the New American Standard, gets it right. However, the varying translations really don’t affect the meaning of the entire Psalm),
Then I said, “It is my grief, that the right hand of the Most High has changed.”
The right hand of God is symbolic for God’s power. The author has been sulking, thinking that God is on vacation, and yet when he remembers the history of his people, the ancient Israelites, he sees that God never takes a vacation, is never off the clock, and is always involved in our affairs (no matter what we feel at the time). This gives the author confidence that God will act.
This can be very helpful to us. Everyone goes through times of stress. Some of it minor; some of it quite major, where we can’t see the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel.” We, too, may think that God has taken off on a Carnival Cruise. But if we’ll look back through our history, and if we’ll see how God has worked in our lives and in the lives of others, we can find comfort in our present situation. His powerful right hand is potent enough to change our grief. It can help us to get His perspective on the situation. It can help us see if there’s anything in our lives that needs to change. Once we get that perspective, then we can take the appropriate action–repentance, seeking some professional help if needed, forgiveness, or whatever the situation calls for.