O Lord, will you forget me forever?

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Psalm 13:1

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

3 Consider and answer me, O LORD my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

5 But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

The psalms are often written in stanzas like this because they were originally songs. It’s unfortunate we’ve lost the music that went with them. Anyway, this psalm is attributed to King David and follows a familiar pattern for David.

First, he shares the fear and anxiety of his heart. There’s a desperation revealed here, especially in v.1 “Will you forget me forever?” Of course, this suggests that God has forgotten him for a time – or at least that’s how it seems to David. I expect this psalm was written after David had spent much time in prayer, crying out to God for relief, to no apparent avail.

I wish it weren’t so, but desperation is a part of life – even for Christians. I’ve known times when God seemed distant. Even non-existent. It’s so hard to be in a difficult situation and feel utterly alone. But it happens. My brain tells me that I’m never alone because the Lord Jesus promises to be with us always, but sometimes my heart doesn’t believe it. It’s an awful feeling. But then, as is often the case, David makes a turn at the end of the psalm.

5 But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

One of the marks of David’s life is a profound trust in the protection and provision of the Lord. Though he may have had doubts at the time of this psalm, his experience of God told him the truth. God would eventually save him from his enemies as he had done so many times before. And so David clung to that hope for all his worth.

Heavenly Father, fear is a terrible thing. In the midst of fear and anxiety we can come to doubt everything, including you. Most of us have things we cannot fix, cannot provide, cannot protect. And so once again we lay them before you. Give us grace to trust your faithfulness rather than succumb to our doubt. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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