First Off…read Psalm 13!
When I read this psalm I personally am drawn to the opening 2 verses. This feeling of pain and sorrow and confusion…longing for the Lord to answer, respond…DO SOMETHING! And because they are waiting without a response – the worst thing happens: their mind begins to wander and go to assumptions. They begin wrestling with their own thoughts, their imagination, their speculations. And we have all seen enough police dramas and lawyer TV shows to know that “speculations” don’t hold water. Speculations aren’t necessarily truthful.
Thinking is good, it helps us each and every day…but our “thinking” can also get us into a lot of trouble. Not physical trouble – but emotional trouble. Wrestling with our emotions and our thoughts, at the same time, CAN lead to stress, anger, feelings of hopelessness, and a feeling of being ignored and even forgotten. Again, speculating on the “why” or answers that we seek.
David…feels forgotten. In the midst of an enemy that surrounds him – he feels distressed and cast aside. He seeks answers from God. He wants Him to respond and bring down his foe so that they do not “rejoice over him” any longer. Many of the psalms have this feeling…this feeling of being forgotten or rejected. Even though the words shared by the psalmist are rhetorical in nature – the feeling still stands. There are times when we simply feel abandoned. There are times when we feel far away from God. There are many times when we simply need a response.
What we see, even after this crying out from the psalmist, is that they respond that even while they don’t know why God doesn’t answer…even though they feel the way they do they TRUST in the unfailing love of God (vs 5). Their heart REJOICES in his salvation. That they will sing the LORD’S praise…for he has been good to them (vs 6).
For the Believer we know that this speaks of Christ. That while God has never whispered in our ears that we are going to be in this “place” of pain for another 2 weeks and 13 hours and 45 mins….(give or take a few seconds)…instead God’s unfailing love sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to BE our salvation (Rom 5:11; Col 1:20). God’s answer to our plight, to our destruction of ourselves, to the pain and suffering that had come upon us (by our own hands – which is a whole other post altogether) was to save us. No longer is God’s face “hidden” (our feeling that it was hidden). No longer must we speculate as to why God does not answer – he did. He has. He still does.
What’s tough is that even today we struggle with our own thoughts. We want answers to the feelings we have, the abandonment we feel, the pain we are enduring – and often times our minds bring us to a place we know in our hearts aren’t true. We know that the Holy Spirit draws near those that are brokenhearted and in pain and yet our minds wrestle otherwise. The psalmist even declares it in Psalm 34:18…so they know it, they feel it, they are aware of it – and yet they still wrestle. Assumptions can hurt us. Wrestling with our own thoughts can damage us.
What I find interesting, and what I must consistently ask and remind myself is “what if!?” What if God DID tell us and consistently says, “You will be in this ‘trouble’ or state of feeling ‘abandoned’ for the next week and a half…” Would that make it any easier? Maybe. Would that change the outcome? Not at all. Our time in this state-of-feeling is the same whether God tells us how long or not. The knowledge actually doesn’t change anything. It may make us “feel” better knowing “OK…just 3 more days…” but it really doesn’t change anything. The length of the term was always going to be a set time.
What it’s really about is trust.
Do we really trust God more if we know how long? Maybe – maybe not. But for me, I need to be better at trusting God IN THE unknown. My trust is really good with the “known”… it’s that opposite trusting-action that I need to be better at. I’m not saying God allows these things to happen so that I trust better – that’s not what I’m saying, and that’s not what the psalmist is lamenting and proclaiming either. This psalm is about trusting in God’s unfailing love – even when we don’t know what is happening. Trusting with our hearts even when our minds try to speak otherwise.