By Brooke Holt
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” Psalm 13:1
“How long” is a question I have asked many times throughout my life - especially this last year. Like David, I have felt forgotten by the Lord or set aside for a time. I have felt no greater pain. Waiting is bad enough but waiting without a sense of God’s intervention is tumultuous!
As David struggled and waited on the Lord, he laid out his heart honestly and vulnerably before God. On the verge of despair, David also brought his questions before the Lord. In fact, David asks the “how long” question four different times throughout this short psalm. The tone and repetition of his questions indicates David’s precarious situation, as if David felt at the end of his rope wondering how much longer he could hold on.
After his lamenting and questioning, David shifted the focus of the psalm from his despair to God’s steadfast love. He then moved into rejoicing in God’s salvation and goodness to him. What changed in such a short time?
David took his eyes off himself and his situation and put them on the Lord. David reminded himself of God’s faithfulness to him. As he remembered God’s abundant faithfulness, David’s litany of questions and laments became a song of praise to the Lord.
Despite David’s feelings, the Lord never left David, never hid from him. He loved David with a steadfast love that would never let David go. This same love and steadfastness still hold true for you today. No matter what hardship you are experiencing, God is with you, and God is for you. He will never let you go nor turn his face from you.
The Lord welcomes your questions and laments. He wants you to entrust your pain, fear, and concerns to him. But don’t stop there. Ask the Lord for his perspective on your situation and pray to have the strength to lift your eyes off of yourself and to place them on Jesus. Focusing solely on yourself and your circumstances brings more gloom, despair, and hopelessness while looking to the Lord brings life, peace, and hope.
Which will you choose today – self-focus or God-focus? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Follow the ancient way of the Psalms and find the life God has for you. A model for vibrant worship, the Psalms provide practical wisdom to traverse the circuitous path of life with trust and hope. Pilgrim’s Path: A Study of the Psalms traces our spiritual walk with God—from discovery and delight, through doubt and disappointment, into joyful confidence. Whether used for individual or group study, Pilgrim’s Path is for everyone who seeks to know and love God more and find life in him.
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