In the words of Isaac Watts’ hymn, which we sang earlier this morning, we capture the messageof Psalm 77:
O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home.
When times of trouble strike, and they will strike, where do you turn? To whom do you look for guidance and protection? Do you turn to God, who is “our help in ages past, our hope for years to come?”
As we have been moving through the Psalms, we’ve discovered that they invite us to cry out in laments. They give us permission to rage and complain. It’s okay that our souls refuse to be comforted. It’s not a sin to have doubts. Here in Psalm 77 the Psalmist cries out to God demanding to be heard. After issuing a torrent of complaints, the Psalmist then remembers that God has been our help in ages past. Recognizing the prospect that life can be challenging, Martin Luther wrote a hymn that picked up on another Psalm, Psalm 46, where he also affirmed God’s strong presence in the face of difficulty. This hymn is a favorite of many, who sing boldly: “A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing, our present help amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.”