Here We Go Again…
One day in February of 2015 I picked up the phone to call my place of employment to inform them that I needed to fly home for a funeral. My grandfather had passed away. My family and I booked flights, packed up, and headed home to be with loved ones. Thirty days later, I picked up the phone to call my place of employment and inform them that I needed to fly home for a funeral. My grandmother had passed away. My family and I booked flights, packed up, and headed home to be with loved ones – again.
Two loved one’s funerals in 30 days was hard. That time in my life reminded me of other times when it felt like the hard stuff just kept coming. Heart was broken once. Heart got broken again. Failed at my attempt to kick that habit once. Failed again. Said I wasn’t going to call back. I called again. They said they wouldn’t do it again. They did it again. We may not all have had the same types of “here we go again” experiences, but I’m sure we can all relate to how it feels when we face the hard stuff over and over and over.
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.
You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.
Let’s consider what Psalms 71:20-21 has to say. When I first read this passage I couldn’t help but notice the repetition of the word “again.” That may be a reflection of the mindset I had at the time: one of my “here we go again” sleepless nights. Nevertheless, this passage is where I settled, and it is good!
We don’t know for sure who wrote Psalm 71. Some scholars think it was the prophet Jeremiah. Others think that David wrote this psalm at the time of his son Absalom’s rebellion. Whoever wrote it knew God. We are able to see some aspects of a walk with God developed over the years which came in handy in a time of hardship.
I found the context in which he used the word again interesting as well. It’s not at all the perspective from which I usually view hard times. I’m usually thinking, “here goes more drama, another problem, another loss. Here goes something else to deal with…” Then I take a deep breath, brace myself, and dive into whatever follows. This writer, is instead saying, “here goes God in a position to restore me again, bring me up again, as well as honor and comfort me again.”
He didn’t go on and on about his troubles. He acknowledged they were “many and bitter” and that was it. He did go on and on about God’s habit of restoring, delivering, honoring, and comforting him. He indeed had some issues. He also had a God who was able to deliver him from those issues. And that’s where he chose to place his focus.
Notice also he says “you have made me see troubles.” He did not say “you have burdened me with troubles.” He is acknowledging God’s presence in even this moment. It is this Presence that gives him the hope he is expressing. He’s saying that he sees the troubles but because of the presence of God and His habit of delivering him, he is not burdened by the troubles.
What if we had a habit of acknowledging God’s presence? What if we pointed out the hand of God in all our situations again and again, the good ones and the bad ones? Our perspective would more often be one of hope. This writer is not discouraged by his “many” and “bitter” troubles. He is encouraged by God’s deliverance, again.
Yes, the loss of both my grandparents was hard. However, once I considered His presence in the midst of the hardship, I was able to see something more: While I said “good-bye” to them, they were saying “hello” to Him! With that in mind, I indeed caught a glimpse of the comfort and restoration God had in store for my family and me.
So many times we may find ourselves in troublesome situations and think “here we go again…” as we reflect on the repetitiveness of the drama, hardship, trials, and disappointments, and we brace ourselves for the worst.
Today, I want to challenge us all to, instead, look at those times and say “Here goes another chance for God to be God!” “Here is another chance for Him to revive me, bring me up, increase my honor and comfort me…again!”