Have you ever felt like God abandoned you? Maybe you have had seasons of trials that were so hard you questioned God’s goodness or sovereignty over the circumstances in your life. We might not be willing to articulate it quite like that, but we often wonder “God are you there?” “If you are, why are you letting this happen?” In Psalm 13 we see King David wrestling through that very feeling. So what do we do when we feel like God has forgotten us?
TELL GOD EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL
Psalm 13:1-2 How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long will I store up anxious concerns within me,
agony in my mind every day?
How long will my enemy dominate me?
In the first two verses of Psalm 13, David asks the question “How Long?” over and over again. How long will you forget me? How long will you hide from me? How long will I wrestle with this anxiety? How long will my enemy dominate me? David has been suffering for such a long time he feels rejected by God. As he is wrestling with this anxiety it seems as though he is questioning God.
Life will throw some pretty overwhelming circumstances at us. It’s easy in those moments to question the promises of God when our feelings tell us something different. But notice what David is doing here. Who is David crying out to? David is crying out to God. David is getting real with God. He is telling God exactly how he feels. Tim Keller said “To the degree, you can shed the “unreality” of self-sufficiency, to that degree your prayer life will become richer and deeper.” David is shedding his “self-sufficiency.” It’s ok to be transparent with God about how you feel. He already knows! Don’t go to God acting like you have it all together, tell him exactly what you are feeling. (1 Peter 5:7) Brokenness is the key that unlocks the door to God’s grace. (Luke 5:31, James 4:6)
ASK GOD FOR ENDURANCE TO PERSEVERE
Psalm 13:3-4 Consider me and answer, LORD my God.
Restore brightness to my eyes;
otherwise, I will sleep in death.
My enemy will say, “I have triumphed over him,”
and my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
Brightness in the eyes represents vitality and is the opposite of one’s eyes growing dim during grief and suffering. In this context, it is contrasted with death. David is praying for vitality and strength during his trial. He is praying for endurance. While we should pray for deliverance from our trials, we should also pray for endurance to persevere through our trials. David doesn’t want his enemies to rejoice because he fails, he wants to be steadfast.
He is also praying in faith. Notice he says “LORD MY God.” While in the first two verses David was questioning God, he still has faith in God. And as he pours out his heart, that faith begins to shine through, despite his emotions. Despite all the craziness going on around him, David knows that God has this under control. Even though God often feels far away in our own lives, we know based on His Word that He is always near. (Psalm 34:18-19, Matthew 28:20)
When you are praying about your circumstances, pray for deliverance, but also pray for endurance. As you surrender yourself to his will, even the difficult parts of it, he will give the strength you need. The difficulty you are facing may be a part of God’s perfect will for your life. God often will allow trials so we can grow. Metal becomes purified when it goes through the fire. So pray for deliverance. But also pray for the grace to suffer well.
PRAISE GOD FOR HIS FAITHFUL LOVE FOR YOU
Psalm 13:5-6 But I have trusted in your faithful love;
my heart will rejoice in your deliverance.
I will sing to the LORD
because he has treated me generously.
Even though the question about the time of God’s intervention remained, David, reaffirms his trust in the Lord’s mercy. This is the Hebrew word CHESED, which is rooted in God’s covenant with His people. David’s trust was not in himself but in the God of the covenant who promised that he would show faithful love to His people. David is proclaiming his confidence in God and as he does he begins to sing. It almost feels like David is changing his mind from what he initially claimed in verse one. In verse one he felt like God forgot him. Now in verse 6 he is proclaiming how good God has been to him. What made the difference? He remembered the mercy and salvation of God.
When you are facing dark times and you feel like God abandoned you, go back to our salvation. Remind yourself of God’s faithful love towards you and how he saved you by his mercy. We may not have all the answers as to why we suffer, but we can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is good. All we have to do is look towards the cross. And as you do, your heart will burst with praise for God.
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About My New Book
THRIVING IN EXILE
The book of 1 Peter tell us that we are strangers and exiles. This world is not our home. We are now priests in God’s kingdom. Part of our role as priests is to point others to Jesus through the way we will live our lives-especially in suffering. When we anchor our hope to Jesus we can show people in our lives a better way to live. One that rises above fear with the unshakable confidence that comes from being secure in Christ. Living for eternity today gives others hope for tomorrow. Thriving In Exile will walk us through the book of 1 Peter and show how we can live holy lives that point people to Jesus while we navigate our own suffering.