The psalmist had gone through a time of trouble that had been so stressful it prevented him from sleeping (v. 4). Day and night he was calling upon God (vv. 1-2) and refused to take any other kind of comfort. Yet whenever he thought about God he found it hard to concentrate on him (v. 3).
Even when he looked back to the way the Lord had dealt with his people in the past the psalmist found no comfort (v. 5) because he was tormented by questions connected to the consistency of God (vv. 6-9). It is true that he had helped others in the past. His help had been given because he loved them. But what if he was now angry with his people?
How did the psalmist deal with this dilemma? He went right back to the basis of his people’s relationship with God, right back to the time when God had shown his power when he redeemed his people from Egypt (vv. 10-20). The power he had shown then was unique, such as when he divided the Red Sea (vv. 16-18). No-one could see God, yet it was obvious that he was there, committed to his people. That occasion was terrifying to God’s enemies (the Egyptians who drowned), but he led his people safely through Moses and Aaron.
The lesson for us is obvious. We will often find ourselves in circumstances of great difficulty and will wonder if God cares about us. There may not be any clear evidence in our providences that he does. When that occurs, we must go back to where our hope in him began, at the cross of Jesus. It is impossible to look at the cross and conclude that God does not care about us.