PSALM 13 – How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”
In today’s scripture, David’s experiencing a wide range of emotions and not unlike that of all Christians in various times of walking with the Lord. He feels abandoned by God and grows impatient with God. Four times in two verses we hear his heart cries, “How long, how long, how long, how long?” as he languishes in spiritual darkness wondering where God is. He also is battling the inward battle with himself over what is happening– “How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?” Who has not spent many sleepless nights talking to ourselves trying to figure out what is going in our walks with the Lord only to feel like a hamster on a wheel going round and round getting nowhere? Then we find David turning a corner. We now see light at the end of the tunnel and that takes us to three lessons from him to help us when God feels faraway in our lives.
First, David reaches the point of total abandonment and dependency on the Lord – Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. David was desperate for his God. And this is the safest place to be. Yet, it is not the easiest place to get. Oh, easy to say, “I trust You completely Lord” but to live the words “I trust You completely Lord” demands we are at the end of ourselves. This means we are truly at the point in our lives that unless God intervenes, we are helpless and hopeless. Don’t resist God taking us to those places of abandonment and dependency that is where real and lasting joy in the Lord is found.
Next, the man after God’s own heart exercises “gutsy faith” in the Lord’s steadfast love – But I have trusted in your steadfast love. Now remember, David is not experiencing the Presence of the Lord. He feels abandoned. He feels forsaken, yet, he does what is necessary to spiritually grow through this difficult and dark time. He trusts. He chooses faith over feelings. And that is the mark of spiritual maturity–ruling over feelings by exercising faith.
Finally, David turns his attention on himself to his God in acts of worship and he does so keeping in mind all that is happening to him is for his good – my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me. During times when God feels far away, intensify our resolve to worship Him. And if we don’t have words, then pray aloud the Psalms to Him. I am sure He loves hearing His own hymn and prayer book read to Him. Worship is a powerful weapon to deliver us from ourselves!
Sometimes God does feel far away but in reality, He is never far away. And when He seems so, practice what David did; depend on God totally, exercise faith in Him sincerely, and worship Him intensely. It will make all the difference.
PRAYER: “Father, I praise You that though I might feel You are far from me, the truth is You are never far from me.”
QUOTE: “When God appears to be distant and unreal, those are the times we spiritually grow the most in the faith.”
Because of Him,