From Pain to Praise
March 5, 2021
By Mattanah DeWitt
From Pain to Praise
“Then I said, ‘I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.’ I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.” – Psalm 77:10-11
I love watching King David’s process of pain to praise, the way he “encouraged himself in the Lord” (I Samuel 30:6). David repeatedly endured desperate and seemingly impossible circumstances that would’ve made many people hopeless and willing to give into despair before getting to witness the great deliverance of God.
At the beginning of Psalm 77, David pours out his complaint, his heavy emotions, before the Lord. He is honest and real with God about how he feels in his hard circumstances. But he doesn’t stay there.
Something shifts in verses 10-11 when David says, “I will remember.” It’s a complete change of posture, a 180 degree turn of his face from the problem to the Provider. David remembers the faithfulness of God; he recounts the perfect track record of a perfect Father and settles in his heart that now will be no different from then.
There’s nothing more alarming and destructive to the strategies of our enemy than when we put on the garment of praise in the midst of our grief, overwhelm, exhaustion, and discouragement. In those moments, we become impossible to defeat: “afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (II Corinthians 4:9).
David isn’t afraid to ask really hard questions of God in his pain—questions such as, “Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” But even without finding an answer to those questions, he moves on to a better one. What god is like our God? David declares, “Your way, O God, is holy” (77:13).
What would happen for us if in the midst of our painful circumstances, we allow ourselves to lament and then let go? To process our pain and then move into a posture of praise? To start asking better questions of the character of God? I believe when we do, we’ll always find him to be as David did—a merciful redeemer who shepherds us with tenderness (77:15, 20).