Real hope from an unexpected encounter

It was a most unexpected moment, and it happened while reading through Psalm 73.  I shouldn’t really ever think it strange that God would speak to us when we are reading His word, but still… the way that He surprised me with a sense of His presence is something that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

Going into that time of reading, I had not realized just how stressed I had become about things ahead… questions over my own future retirement, healthcare… you get the picture. 

This Psalm resonated with me as I read it, how that the writer (Asaph) had been comparing his current life situation with those around him who were NOT attempting to follow and obey the Lord.  It was as if Asaph were saying, “What’s the use in trying to do what is right?” 

His complaint was that those who were openly sinning against God seemed to be doing just fine, while he was encountering all sorts of difficulties. 

In a way, his plight was the same as mine – my own eyes were not fixed on the Lord as they should have been, and that almost always leads one down a path that will end in either discouragement or defeat.  

Asaph’s help came in verses 16-17: 

16 But when I thought how to understand this,

    it seemed to me a wearisome task,

17 until I went into the sanctuary of God;

then I discerned their end.”

(Psalm 73:16-17 ESV)

It was when Asaph drew in to God that God drew close to him, and graciously led him to see the truth. And the great news was that he did see through the fallacy of his previous way of thinking.  

God’s grace to Asaph is so evident in his description of himself prior to this encounter with God… he spoke of himself as being “brutish”, like a “beast” toward God.  But he learned that even when he was in that place, God had never left him.

“Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.”  (Verse 23)

Asaph received from God’s grace – favor that was not in keeping with where his heart had been. And that is what happened to me too… God so touched my heart, in such a way that brought healing and hope for the future.   

Most of us come to such a place more than once in our lifetime. That is true for me, and it may well describe you. If this resonates in your heart too, then do what Asaph did – get alone with God – He will help you discern what to do. 

About the Author

Mike Gilland is Operations Manager for The Shepherd Radio Network, a group of radio stations in Florida that features the “Christian Teach/Talk” format. Mike hosts a daily talk radio show in the 2 PM hour called “Afternoons with Mike”, talking to local pastors and newsmakers.  In Gainesville, Mike is heard on WTMN – 96.3 FM / 1430 AM. In Ocala, on WRZN – 103.5 FM / 720 AM. In addition to his broadcast experience, Mike spent 36 years in full-time ministry as a pastor and worship leader.  As a guitarist, Mike performs at concerts, restaurants, private parties, etc. He is married to Cindy, the father of four grown children and grandfather to seven grandchildren.

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