How Long Will God Forget Me?
O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way?
Psalm 13 is a desperate cry to God. It is an example of the groaning prayers we’ve been considering in recent reflections on the Psalms. David’s soul was filled with anguish because of the apparent success of his enemies and because of their boastfulness in defeating him. So he cried out, “O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way?” (13:1).
If this cry weren’t a part of the divinely inspired Word of God, we might be tempted to rebuke David: “God hasn’t forgotten you. He isn’t looking the other way. You shouldn’t be praying like this!” But Psalm 13 and many others throughout the Psalter express an unsettling boldness before God. David says exactly what he feels, without holding back. To be sure, there’s a time to sort out the theological issues associated with David’s struggle. But there is also a time to let God have it, to lay before him every thought, every fear, every desperate desire.
Psalm 13 encourages us to bring ourselves before the Lord as we are, to open our hearts honestly in prayer. It exemplifies the freedom we have to approach God with utter confidence and full expression. As it says in Hebrews 4:16: “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you ever prayed like David in Psalm 13:1? When? What happened when you prayed this way? What helps you to be honest with God in prayer?
PRAYER: O Lord, by your grace, I’m not crying out to you in the way of Psalm 13:1 today. But there have been times, many times, when it seemed as if you had forgotten me. Though my theology said this doesn’t happen, my heart felt forgotten. How thankful I am that, in times like these, I have the freedom to tell you exactly what I’m thinking and feeling. Thank you, gracious God, for being willing to listen to whatever is in my heart.
Although I’m not in a place of desperation today, I know many people who are. So I lift them before you now. . . . [Pray for those who are going through hard times. If you’re in such a place, tell the Lord exactly how you feel and what you’d like from him. Don’t hold back!]
How I thank you, Lord, that you do hear my prayers and do answer, according to your wisdom and in your time. How grateful I am for all those times I’ve been able to echo David, not just in verse 1 of Psalm 13, but in verse 5 as well: “But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.” For hearing my desperate cries, and for rescuing me so many times, I thank and praise you, dear Lord. In the name of Jesus my Savior, Amen.