1 I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and He will hear me. 2 I sought the Lord in my day of trouble. My hands were continually lifted up all night long; I refused to be comforted. 3 I think of God; I groan; I meditate; my spirit becomes weak. Selah 4 You have kept me from closing my eyes; I am troubled and cannot speak. 5 I consider days of old, years long past. 6 At night I remember my music; I meditate in my heart, and my spirit ponders. 7 “Will the Lord reject forever and never again show favor? 8 Has His faithful love ceased forever? Is His promise at an end for all generations? 9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger withheld His compassion?” Selah 10 So I say, “I am grieved that the right hand of the Most High has changed.” 11 I will remember the Lord ’s works; yes, I will remember Your ancient wonders. 12 I will reflect on all You have done and meditate on Your actions. 13 God, Your way is holy. What god is great like God? 14 You are the God who works wonders; You revealed Your strength among the peoples. 15 With power You redeemed Your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Selah 16 The waters saw You, God. The waters saw You; they trembled. Even the depths shook. 17 The clouds poured down water. The storm clouds thundered; Your arrows flashed back and forth. 18 The sound of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; lightning lit up the world. The earth shook and quaked. 19 Your way went through the sea and Your path through the great waters, but Your footprints were unseen. 20 You led Your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
The psalmist Asaph was deeply troubled. He was crying out, searching his soul for how to deal with his dark night. At first, his prayers didn’t even seem to bring him comfort. But then Asaph discovered something that did – he started remembering former days. Specifically, he began reflecting on the deliverance of the Israelites, in the Exodus.
Asaph’s current circumstances were dire, but he remembered that God had done miracles in the past. He mused on God’s deeds, and this reflection then caused him to praise God (verses 13-15) and to be assured of His holiness and greatness.
I’m not sure what resource Asaph used to recall what had happened to his ancestors, but it may have been some kind of journal. A journal entry provides a historical account of God’s involvement in previous life-happenings. In your darkest moments, you can read past entries and remember how God has worked in your life before. Seeing a theme of God’s involvement and care will provide encouragement in dark times.
Remembering the Lord’s work is my favorite benefit of journaling. In the moment, a situation may be overwhelming. But over time, things change, God works, and I am able to move on. A journal documents this journey and reminds me of the cool things God has done – and it also reminds me He’ll be faithful to do them again.
Let your journal be a written testimony of God’s providence in your life. It will bring you encouragement while writing about the things you’re experiencing and learning, and it will be available to you in the future for those times when you need it most.
Muse on your past. Pull up memories of God’s work in your life, and tell some stories about those things in your journal. As mentioned in yesterday’s devotional, be free to talk about the emotions you felt at that time. It will make the story even more real, when you read it again in future years.
Write out how God is involved in your life now. You can write out prayers, or simply provide narrative to circumstances and write about what God is doing in those circumstances.