“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” Psalm 13:1 (NIV 1984)
Several years ago my husband Scott began to experience health problems that were extreme and unexpected, especially for someone his age. We had no idea when he’d get better. Weeks and months dragged by. Wondering, “How long?” took its toll on us.
Facing our uncertain future left my faith weak and I questioned if God had forgotten me. Despairing, I felt tired and lonely, and I wanted out.
King David was in a similar place of questioning God as we see in today’s key verse. “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” (Psalm 13:1) David’s circumstances had turned from promising to troublesome.
He’d been anointed king but didn’t step into his role immediately. While he waited for God’s plan to come to fruition he served the current king, Saul. During this time David gained respect and affection from the people of Israel, as well as those in King Saul’s court. Because of this, Saul became jealous of David and threatened his life numerous times.
As David wrote Psalm 13, he was on the run from King Saul and found himself in a hard place of losing hope. He needed encouragement and strength. In his desperate place of darkness, he asked God “How long?” The words that filled his heart fell from his lips as he cried out to the Lord.
Are you living in the unbearable days of “How long?” How long will I be unemployed? How long will my child be a prodigal? How long will I live with this life-threatening diagnosis? How long will I be lonely?
Sometimes our stay in “How long?” seems indefinite. The long stay causes us to become discouraged and lose hope for deliverance.
Knowing King David asked God “How long?” can strengthen our weakened faith. God used David’s words to strengthen Scott’s faith and mine. Praying his words in Psalm 13 renewed our communication with God by helping us realize the “right” words weren’t necessary. We could simply let the words filling our hearts fall from our lips as we cried out to God for help. Our strengthened faith equipped us to walk the long medical road to a diagnosis, treatment plan, and trust in God’s faithfulness through our “How long?”
Dear Lord, thank You for King David’s vulnerability. His words strengthen my faith and renew my hope for deliverance from my “How long?” Help me remember the lesson You’ve taught me today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Are you currently living in a season of “How long?” Carve some quiet time out of your day to write your own “How long?” psalm. Let the words that are filling your heart pour from your lips.
Has God delivered you safely through a season of “How long?” Carve some quiet time out of your day to write a psalm of praise. Let the words in your heart pour from your lips.
Psalm 17:1, “Hear, O LORD, my righteous plea; listen to my cry. Give ear to my prayer — it does not rise from deceitful lips.” (NIV)
Psalm 51:15, “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.” (NIV 1984)
© 2012 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.