We look at the lives of others and can see God’s plan working in their lives. Yet, it is hard to see what He’s doing in ours. This is normal. The human tendency is to see the grass as being greener on the other side. The man or woman on the other side always seems to be doing better, achieving more, working harder, receiving more approval, more well liked…and more, more, more.
Just because it’s the way things seem, doesn’t mean that’s the way it is.
One thing about the bible, that I love, is the fact that the words in it are real and true. The men and women in the bible don’t put up a beautiful image of what their lives were like so that we won’t know what was really going on. Instead, they tell it how it really is or was. They keep it real with us…especially in the Psalms.
Let’s look at Psalm 13
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 every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, O Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
my enemy will say, ” I have overcome him.”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in Your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
for He has been good to me.
Have you ever found yourself in this place?
Can you relate to the Psalmist David?
This man sits here in the place of utter depression. ¬†He finds himself wondering and contemplating things to a point of distress. ¬†He is so distressed that he has to ask God the questions that his heart yearns to have the answers to.
Lord, how long?
How long will you forget about me Lord? ¬†In the midst of all that I am going through, how long will you allow me to endure this without remembering your promise to me? ¬†Will it be forever? ¬†Will you allow me to sit in this same place for all eternity? Because it feels like a long time.
This man found himself in such a state of utter despair that he felt that the Lord would leave Him in that place forever. ¬†Have you ever felt this way? ¬†Have your circumstances ever felt timeless? As if they would last forever?
Not only did David feel that his circumstances were overtaking him, he also felt like God had hidden Himself. “How long will You hide your face from me?” In the midst of all that I am going through and experiencing, I can’t even feel your presence. ¬†I don’t feel like we are having a face to face interaction anymore. I am searching for you, but I feel like I can’t find you. ¬†Lord my heart is yearning for You…are You there?
Sometimes in the midst of our situations we fell that God has left us. ¬†We no longer have the experience with Him that we once had or we don’t feel His presence the way we used to, so we assume that He has turned His back on us. We assume that He is hiding from us, somehow still watching, but not wanting to be found by us.
What David says next gives us insight into his heart and into ours as well.
“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?”
This issue…these problems…they are all are coming from the inner parts of David. ¬†He is having all types of troublesome thoughts. ¬†He is experiencing thoughts and feelings that are causing him to wrestle within himself. ¬†It is in his thoughts that he believes that God has hidden His face from him. ¬†It is in his thoughts, intellect, and emotions that he feels forsaken. ¬†He reveals to us that he is in a place of despair. He feels like a double minded man. ¬†He is in darkness and sorrow floods his heart daily. ¬†It is in this place that he wonders and asks how long his enemy will triumph over him. ¬†It is in this place that he cries out to God and says “Look on me.” Turn around Lord. ¬†Turn Your face back to me. “Answer, O Lord my God.” You are my God! ¬†I know You hear me. ¬†Answer the cry of my heart.
Ever been there?
“Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;”
David reveals that he is depressed. ¬†He feels that he can’t see the light of day. ¬†Only darkness surrounds him, from his perspective. ¬†Without God, he will surely die. ¬†He cries out and tells God, in his vulnerable state, that he needs Him.
Then he goes into what others will say. ¬†We all do this. ¬†When we feel that we are going through something and we need God to rescue us, somehow, our minds go to a place of ‘what will they say?’ David was no different. ¬†As he looked at his circumstance with a critical and frustrated eye, suddenly, his foe’s opinions and thoughts of him began to matter.
Still in all of this, there is one thing that David did not forget…God is always in control.
As he asked, how long, he made it clear that all God had to do was decide that it was time for all of it to stop. ¬†David reveals that he knows that there is a season for everything. ¬†That with it all, God has a plan to work it out for our good.
After pleading for God’s help, David receives an answer from God immediately in his conscious. Immediately, everything changes with a word.
But, I will trust in Your unfailing love.
It’s the “but”…
This one word brings clarity. ¬†It stops David in his tracks and helps him to turn from where he was to a new place. ¬†It was the “but” that was Holy Spirit inspired to change his situation.
Suddenly, David remembers that God’s love does not fail. ¬†Perhaps this is what he was wrestling with himself about before. ¬†With a declarative statement David makes it clear that he will trust in who God is and what He does. ¬†His heart begins to rejoice. ¬†He is no longer in a state of depression. ¬†He has been set free and can now rejoice in the Lord. Out of his rejoicing comes his worship. ¬†He begins to praise God because he has recognized that God is good to him.
When we come to realize who God is in our lives, we take our eyes off of the circumstances, our feelings, and other people’s thoughts of us. ¬†When we focus on Him, our state of mind changes and we are able to rejoice in who He is. ¬†We are able to worship Him with all that we are. ¬†When we focus on Him, we realize His goodness, faithfulness, and unfailing love.
What can we learn from all of this in Psalm 13?
We can learn that it is perfectly alright to be vulnerable and honest with God about our feelings. ¬†When we find ourselves in this place, we are in good company. ¬†David was a man after God’s own heart. ¬†He was a vessel of honor unto God.
We learn that He is trustworthy and that He will not turn from us, even when we think He does,simply because His love does not fail… ¬†We learn that things such as depression, dispair, and lonliness are apart of the human experience. Yet, God will not leave us there. ¬†He will rescue us. ¬†He hears our cry. ¬†He will give us reason to rejoice.
We learn to trust God with all that we have and all that we are, for He can and will change our entire situation with just one word…