What do you do when things don’t go well?

 by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

What do you do when things do not go well?  You have a big day ahead of you, and you don’t feel well and you don’t want to do anything!  You have made careful plans for your day, and there are at least six unexpected events that delay you and distract you.  You have an appointment to make and forget about it—or someone has an appointment to see you and they fail to come.  You promise to do something for another, and you run out of time and it is not done.  Someone makes a promise to you and fails to fulfill it.  Or you read the morning news and wonder who will help us out of the messes that we are in?

READ Psalm 77

The psalmist is hurting.  He prays to God, and he is not sure that he is being heard.  When he looks out at the day he sees  trouble, and he finds no comfort.  He thinks of God, but he is so troubled that he cannot speak.   He remembers better days.  He feels that God is against him.  In a way he is asking if he has missed the train of faith and trust in God.  Then in verse 10 he wakes up.

He recognizes that the problem is not God—but his grief. Out of that realization regarding himself, he finds the resolution:  verses 11 and 12, “I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord; yea, I will remember thy wonders of old.  I will meditate on all thy work, and muse on thy mighty deeds.  Thy Way, O God, is holy.  What god is great like our God?”  The psalmist’s plight and resolution remind me of two passages in the New Testament.  “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”  (Matthew 6:33)  “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set you minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”  (Colossians 3:1,2)

The conclusions come to the Psalmist.  “Your way is holy.”  (perfect) There is none other like You.  You are the God who works wonders and redeems your people.  Our God is always to be first in  our hearts!  Our Savior is always there to help us.

This psalm should remind us of those practices that will help us:

  • Turning our attention from ourselves to God
  • Reading the Bible daily
  • Being pro active for the Lord; engaging in his service; helping someone else 
Foster H. Shannon

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More about Foster…

Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note

Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth.
He is currently Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA. He is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. He is the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, which he established with others in 1981. Green Leaf Press, Inc. publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences. The website is:www.gogreenleaf.com. He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.