1993 was the most painful year of my life. It was physically painful: my back went out and I broke my hand playing basketball. It was financially painful: our checkbook was woefully malnourished. It was spiritually painful: God seemed very distant to me. I wasn’t sensing his presence in my life, and that really hurt.
When I hurt, my focus becomes narrow. I see only what is in front of me:
- my pain
- my disappointment
- my frustration
- my trials
I get so consumed with my present pain that I forget my past. That is dangerous!
The Psalmist was facing his own “dark night of the soul.” Like me--and perhaps like you--he felt abandoned by God and rejected. He was in a spiritual tailspin. He wondered if he would ever sense God’s compassion again. So how did he find the light to walk out of the dark? He started looking back.
Will the Lord reject us forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion? Then I thought: "To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago, I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds."Psalm 77:7-12 NIV
When trials come and God seems to go, the Psalmist reminds us to look back! Take a few moments and dwell on God's great miracles of the past! He has not changed. God is able to come through even when all seems hopeless.
Does God seem distant? Does it feel like he’s forgotten you? Then do what the Psalmist did – look back! Reflect on some of his great works in the Bible or take a moment to think of some of the ways he has come through for you. Perhaps it was money that God provided just in the nick of time, or an encouraging friend he brought to your side when you needed it most. Maybe it was crystal clear insight for a very cloudy problem, or strength when you were faltering.
If the pain of your trials has you wondering if God will ever show up again, look back! His work in the past is our hope and confidence for the future.
 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, page 91.