I remember lying awake in the hours before dawn in a kibbutz on shore of the Lake of Galilee. It had been nearly 3 weeks since I had seen my family, and although this was the trip of a lifetime, I missed them. Homesickness coupled depression left me feeling disoriented and unable to sleep.
Feeling disoriented isn’t reserved for pre-dawn hours.
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.
Have you ever felt this way? Psalm 13 is a perfect picture of how it feels.
There are a few things I really like about this Psalm.
1. Get straight to the point
I like how daring the writer is. He goes straight to God with his questions. The words are heartfelt – it’s what he’s feeling.
I sometimes think God’s forgotten about me. Sometimes I go through times of doubt, when God seems distant. I try to hide it. 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?
2. It’s God’s reputation at stake
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.
3. It hinges on a decision
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.
I found my way to this psalm in those hours of homesickness on the shore of the Lake of Galilee. 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 4 great children (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.
How has God been good to you? What reasons do you have to sing?