In Psalm 13 we find David expressing his frustrations to God. He didn’t understand why he had to wait so long for the Lord to hear and answer his prayers. In his seemingly desperate situation, he was just tired of waiting for God to show up. Have you ever felt that way? I know I have. We may not directly say that to the Lord, but inside, that’s often how we’re feeling.
The psalm doesn’t tell us what David was struggling with, or how long he had been waiting for help. It could have been some type of serious illness and he just wasn’t getting better. But maybe it’s good that we don’t know, for then we’re able to plug-in our own situations and make application to our lives.
David repeats the question “How long?” four times in the opening two verses. He says, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” David was in a bad way!
Be honest. We’re all guilty of being impatient at times, aren’t we? It seems to me that David was focusing too much on himself, and not enough on the sovereign God who loved him and had promised to care for him. Maybe he thought that he knew better than God? But what we all need to realize is that God’s timing is best, and He always does what’s best. He often uses the hard times, including our times of waiting, to help us get to know Him better, and to trust Him more. In verses 3 and 4, David begins to focus more on the Lord. “Look on me and answer, Lord, my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall.” David realizes that the Lord is his only help, and he longs for some light on his situation. We sometimes tend to think that God doesn’t really understand our situation or care about what we’re going through. We tend to jump to conclusions, instead of resting on the fact that God sees the whole picture. He knows the whole situation. In his perfect timing he will help us. He doesn’t usually tell us why we have to wait so long. Maybe He’s just waiting for us… waiting for us to trust him. His perfect timing is for our good, and for his glory.
Verses 5 and 6 close the psalm on a positive and encouraging note. David says: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.”
David has stopped complaining to God and pleading with Him to look on his situation. Now he is determined to trust Him. He focuses on the Lord’s “unfailing love.” That’s what we need to do, as well. Stop complaining and begin trusting. David began with questioning God, but now ends up by singing his praises. He began with sorrow in his heart. Now his heart rejoices in the Lord’s salvation. He sings because he realizes how good the Lord has been to him, and how much the Lord has loved him. May that also be true for each one of us, too!
Jim Newman is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-592-2367 or by emailing [email protected]. Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column among the pastors, and guest laypeople, of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church and Lemon Cove Community Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.