2020 has been a year that has made many of us want to cry out, as David does in Psalm 13, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?”
Please read Psalm 13 now.
We don’t know exactly when David wrote this Psalm. Many have tried to place it during one difficulty or another that David experienced, but David experienced so much hardship during his life that it is impossible to decide with any certainty exactly which one led him to writing this Psalm. He could have written it at a young age and gone back to it time and time again, or he could have written it when he was old and reflecting on some of his life’s misery, or he could have written it any time in between.
This uncertainty is perfectly fitting for this Psalm, which itself is a cry of uncertainty. David is suffering, and in his suffering, he feels like God is absent. He trusts in God; He believes God will deliver him, but he questions how long he must suffer before he will be delivered.
As Christians, we know that Jesus did not promise us health, wealth, and success. He told us that His disciples would be persecuted, put on trial for crimes they didn’t commit, hated by the world, mocked, scorned, kicked out of the community centers, and even separated from their families for their beliefs (Matthew 5:11-12; 10:16-23; Mark 13:9-13; Luke 12:51-53; 21:12; John 15:20; 16:2; 17:14).
But, in all of this, Jesus promised that He would be with us—He will never leave us nor forsake us, these trials are actually for our benefit, and, if we endure to the end, we will receive a crown of glory in heaven, where we will dwell with Him forever (Matthew 10:22; 24:13; Mark 13:13; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Peter 5:4; James 1:2-4).
It is for this hope of glory that we are willing to endure our trials. We are willing to endure the loss of employment. We are willing to endure the medical diagnosis. We are willing to endure the isolation. We are willing to endure the family conflict. We are willing to endure the pain. All of these are but momentary afflictions that will fade away in the light of glory.
Still, we ask with David, “How long, O Lord? I am willing to endure whatever trial you place before me, but will it be quick? Will my suffering continue for days? Months? Years? Will it last forever?”
Thanks be to God that it will not last forever!
After asking God how long his suffering will be, David seems to hear an answer from God, because he goes on to remind himself, “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.”
The temporary troubles of this temporary world are nothing compared to the glory of Christ and His saving power. We have trusted in His steadfast love, so we know that we will be with Him forever. Even if I have to endure trials in this life, I know that Christ is with me, and I will continue to trust in Him. “I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.”
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