'Known Unto God'Psalm 77:1-15
Several years ago, my wife and I were visiting our daughter and husband in Clarksville, Tenn. Our son-in-law had just left for a yearlong deployment to Iraq, and we had come to be support for our daughter who was expecting her first baby, and then to move her back to Iowa while our son-in-law was overseas.
While there, we had opportunity to visit the Fort Donelson National Battlefield and Cemetery near Dover, Tenn. As we were walking across the grounds we came to the ridge where many soldiers, both Union and Confederate, lost their lives during this strategic battle in the early part of the Civil War.
As I walked across the well-manicured lawn of that battlefield and cemetery, I came to a gravestone with this inscription. It said, “Here lies a brave soldier known unto God.”
I tried to imagine some of the loneliness that these men experienced who died on that field of battle. I also tried to imagine the anguish and grief that their respective families experienced upon hearing the news of the deaths of their sons, fathers and brothers. As I stood there that early spring afternoon the thought of the grief and anguish that took place because of the horror of war was overwhelming to me, and I wept over the deaths of men I never met and never had the privilege of knowing.
There are times in all our lives when we feel forgotten and alone. We are like the Psalmist who prayed, “Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” (Ps 77:9 ESV)
The Psalmist’s answer to feeling abandoned came when he recalled, “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.” (Ps 77:11-12 ESV) The Psalmist remembered and meditated on all that God had done. It was a thought that he was unable to get out of his mind; it simply overwhelmed him.
In our darkest moments, we need to remember the words of Jesus who said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Lu 12:6-7 ESV)
Many of us have been impacted in a very personal way by the passing of someone you love. You have perhaps experienced many dark moments during the past year, and perhaps you have wondered at times whether God has abandoned you.
When those moments come, I want you to remember that God never forgets you. He loves you and He had demonstrated that wonderful love in the person of His Son Jesus Christ.
Jesus Himself said, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (Joh 11:25-26 ESV)
An unknown author provides these words of comfort: When trials loom or death is near, in Christ we can confide; We never need to feel alone – He’s always at our side.
Spilger is also the chaplain for Hospice of Washington County.