“How Long?” -June 10, 2020
“How long, Lord? ...
Look on me and answer…
But I trust….” Psalm 13:1a,3a,5a
In this set of devotionals, we have looked at our fair share of lament psalms. Psalm 13 is one of the most popular. Its opening lines ask perennial questions voiced by the sufferer. “How long, 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?”
There continue to be people voicing this lament. Even with some loosening restrictions on the horizon, people may still be wondering, ‘How long?’ And there are others: people who have been working toward racial equality; people who have been trying to stay afloat financially, emotionally, relationally or spiritually; people who pre-Covid-19 conditions had been living with illness, disability, deep grief and a myriad of other burdens.
The structure of Psalm 13 gives us helpful direction. Psalm 13 is purposefully divided into three movements. The first (verses 1-2) is the lament, the crying out. The second (verses 3-4) shows a movement beyond lament toward appeal, toward an asking God to help. The third (verses 5-6) ends up at a point of rest and trust in God, despite what the poet has or is experiencing.
Some people have described to me a pattern of changing feelings during the pandemic. In one moment being accepting of how things are and in other moments feeling sad or angry or maybe anxious. The movements of Psalm 13 demonstrate that variations in feelings have been expressed before in times of challenge and they do not need to be not hidden from God.
Ultimately, we look to Jesus who calls all the weary and burdened to come to him (Matthew 11:28) and arrive at the place of trust and even joy and praise in God's gift of rescue. (Ps.13:6)
PRAYER ENCOURAGEMENT: O Lord, the prayers you give us to pray in the Psalms so often give us the very words we were looking for in our circumstances. Use our prayers to bring us to the place of trust, rest and praise of your ultimate goodness. In the name of Jesus, AMEN
A link to Psalm 13 sung by “The Psalm Project” … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAhsVoJjF9E