Have you ever turned a corner while driving only to be suddenly blinded by the sun? It’s dazzling but also disorienting. I experience this often. Not only when driving but also in life in general. It seems like everything is going fine when suddenly something happens and I’m left blinded and disorientated. In these moments I struggle to see what God is up to.
I’m not alone. I’m sure you’ve experienced this too. The Psalms give us pictures of others who felt like this too.
There are many Psalms I could choose, but my favourite is Psalm 13. It says:
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?
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.
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.
There are a few things I really like about this Psalm. First I like how daring the writer is. He goes straight to God with his questions. The words are authentic – it’s what he’s feeling. Like me, do you often try to hide behind a veneered exterior that everything is going okay? What would it be like if we let down the veil?
Secondly I like the fact that for the psalmist it is God’s reputation that’s at stake. The middle section ends with mocking. When psalmist’s enemies rejoice they can do so because they know God has not come through. It is like they are saying ‘Your God either is impotent or doesn’t care enough about you.’ As followers of Jesus we are his representatives. When we are afflicted we can call out to Jesus to intervene.
Perhaps the greatest challenge is the conclusion of the Psalm. Whether or not God intervenes, the psalmist will continue to worship him. It is not begrudgingly following God. Instead even in the midst of his afflictions and disorientations God has been good.
None of this is theoretical. One night in the midst of homesickness and depression I found my way to this Psalm. The cry ‘How long, Lord?’ resonated with me. But as I continued reading I began to see the ways God had been good to me. I have a loving Saviour who has redeemed me and calls me his child. I have a beautiful and loving wife. I have 3 great kids (even though they drive me crazy sometimes). I have the certainty of restoration even though I do not yet see it. I wait for a day when there will be no more tears but in the meantime I have a reason to sing.
Leave a comment about how God has been good to you.