Impatience is the desire to step ahead of myself, or should I say of God? It can be a joy robber. In Psalm 13 we see David’s journey from distress to joy and his impatience with God over his situation.
In his commentary on OBible.com, Steve J. Cole talks about how this Psalm is broken down into 3 stanzas. David’s distress is seen in verses 1-2. His prayer is in verses 3-4 and verses 5-6 bring joy in form of praise.
In this Psalm, I admire David for his willingness to open his emotions and let it flow to the heart of God. Burying it deep is more my style and this slows down the healing process.
Psalm 13:1-2 "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? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Four times in these two verses, David is asking God “How long?” This is not the first time he has asked for relief, and he wants to know where is He? Is God actually hiding from him? Where is God’s answer? His sorrow is building day by day and he cannot escape his distress.
Can we relate? We’ve lost someone we love and want answers. A situation at work is becoming a problem, and one we’re not sure how to solve. Next, we go to God in prayer, spill our hearts and ask for the solution. It seems as if nothing is happening. We continue to pray, yet it becomes more urgent. Where is God? Our stress level increases and we begin reaching for our own answers.
Has God forgotten David? Or us?
Psalm 27:10 “Through my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” NIV
Here in Psalm 27:10 we see that God loves and accepts us even in those times when our family does not.
We begin to see in this verse what God’s support is as we wait for His answer. His comfort takes us from distress to joy.
Give Light to My Eyes
Psalm 13: 3-4 “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 fail,” NIV
David knows God has not forgotten him and he realizes that He is there regardless of the situation. The reality of His peace begins. He has come from the bottom of his emotions to remember what he knows about God and how He has empowered him in times past.
Therefore it is important for us to know where to go when we are overwhelmed with anxiety, stress and grief. In those moments it can be difficult to do because our hearts are so heavy with pain and we fight movement. We just want to sit still and not think.
Reaching for our Bible can begin our journey to wellness. Our faith becomes stronger and we observe new things that we have never understood before. God can quiet our minds and bring refreshment to our soul.
Trust, Joy, Praise
Psalm 13:5-6 “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.” NIV
Trust is key. We can get lost sometimes in our feelings about situations and don’t understand why God has let this happen to us. Do I forget about trust? I know He knows best and I need to rely on that, not what I feel. That’s a biggie. David trusted in God’s unfailing love during his difficulty and pain. His words are recorded in the previous verses.
“My heart rejoices in Your salvation.” The feelings of depression have now been changed to a heart of rejoicing. Wrestling with negative thoughts has been erased. He knows where it has come from and he is a witness to God’s joy. The Lord is glorified as David is saved from his adversaries and strife.
Now free from his pain and distress, he sees God in His splendor of who He is. This entralls David’s heart and gives wings to his voice. From anguish to praise. Oh, how I need to become more like David. God deserves our praise.
Psalm 13:6 records what David says “for He has been good to me.” God is the root of all goodness, the source of all good and He loves us and has our best at heart.
I mentioned in the introduction that I love this Psalm. David is honest and shows his true feelings. The real beauty of the Psalm is how it takes us from the beginning of our trials to God’s success in our lives.
First, David moves us from his misery where he cannot think of anything else. Second, we see the transition from distress to remembering what God has done for him. Has he really forgotten God’s place in his life? No, he temporarialy judged God according to his feelings and then went to that place of what he knew was true.
Hopefully this helps us understand what God’s joy and comfort is. He doesn’t always answer right away and that can be disconcerting. There is always a reason for what we call the delay and according to God, it is for the good.
God doesn’t always have an answer to our why. If we take Him to be God and our Heavenly Father, we have to realize that His thoughts are not our thoughts. We do not have to understand all of His ways. There’s that key again, trust and with that comes joy. Reading God’s Word is one of the best ways to build our trust by learning who God is and bringing true joy into our distress.
Cole, Steve, J. (2013,April18).OBible.org. https://bible.org/seriespage/psalm-13-when-god-seems-distant