Well, it’s safe to say this school year is not ending the way any of us thought or hoped that it would. Life has changed for us all over the past two months. Graduating seniors, you may find yourselves grieving the unexpected loss of many “senior moments” you have looked forward to for so long. On behalf of our Greek IV staff team, our hearts go out to you.
Without these milestones, you may be tempted to just forget and move on to life after college - which may feel more uncertain than normal due to COVID-19. With this in mind, let me encourage you to slow down and take time to reflect and remember, using Psalm 77 as a guide:
1 I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
3 I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
4 You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
5 I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
6 I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
7 “Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
13 Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
16 The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
19 Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Questions to Consider
What do you notice about the psalmist’s situation in verses 1-9? Clearly troubled, how does he respond in distress?
Notice the shift in in verses 10-12. How does committing to “remember the deeds of the Lord” affect the psalmist’s tone and perspective?
In verses 13-20, what does the psalmist remember about God?
Why is it important for us to take time to remember God’s faithfulness in the past when we are facing stressful and uncertain times? How does remembering God’s past faithfulness strengthen our faith and hope in the present?
How has God been faithful to you since campus closed due to COVID-19? Throughout your senior year? Your time in college? Your life?
In this psalm, which is a communal lament, we see that remembering the “deeds of the Lord” can lift our attitude and vision from the fog of our current circumstances. Remembering God can bring peace for the present and hope for the future.
Throughout the Psalms and all of Scripture, the people of God are called to remember. In the Old Testament, the Israelites made stone altars as historical markers of holy ground. At the Last Supper, Jesus reminded his disciples to share this sacred meal in remembrance of him. In 2 Timothy 2:8, Paul urged Timothy - and urges us - to “remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David…”
As much as you may want to forget the abrupt ending to the school year and this unusual time, it is important to intentionally remember God’s unchanging nature and faithful deeds. Consider setting aside time today or this week to reflect on the questions above. Feel free to journal your responses. You may also want to attempt to rewrite Psalm 77 in your own words.
Are you having trouble pinpointing God’s faithfulness in this season? Like the psalmist, be honest about that and zoom out to reflect on God’s faithfulness throughout history. Remember the cross and empty tomb that we recently celebrated at Easter, and that we still celebrate today.
Seniors, congratulations on completing your time in college! Ceremonies or not, this is worth remembering and celebrating. As you take time to reflect on God’s faithfulness over the past year (or four or five...), may it lead you to worship the same God who has been faithful throughout your life and all of time. Remember, God has not forgotten you!
**Note: while this devotional addresses graduating seniors, taking time to reflect and remember God’s faithfulness in our past is a helpful practice for anyone.