Psalm 13:1: “How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? / How long will You hide Your face from me?”

July 17th, 2017 by Pastor Ed in devotional

There were times in David’s life when he felt like his trials and difficulties would never end, as if God was absent and had left him to his own resources. So here in Psalm 13, he asked God how long He would forget him. It is of course a silly thing to ask God, since He never forgets anything, but still sometimes we have to remind ourselves that God never says, “Sorry, what was your name again?”

Someone suggested that a great title for this psalm would be “Are we there yet?” When our kids were little and we went on vacation that was the kind of question we usually heard from the back of the car: “How much longer?” or “Are we ever going to get there?” Those kinds of questions never came when the kids were having a fun time. It’s the same for us as adults. When times are easy and things are going great, we never ask God, “How much longer is this going to last?” But when times are rough, it seems as though time itself slows down and we begin to wonder if the difficulty will ever end. This is a psalm for the impatient, for when we are saying, “I don’t get it, Lord. I’m trying to follow you.” We understand that because we all live in a sin-marred world, sooner or later we will find ourselves in the midst of circumstances that bring pain, perhaps even despair and disillusionment.

In Brendan Gill’s book on acclaimed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, he relates “a well-known anecdote” of an exchange between Wright and one of his clients, industrialist Hibbard Johnson, over a leak in the house Wright had built for the man. Hibbard called Wright long distance and said, “Frank, we’re just sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner and your . . . skylight is leaking. What are we to do?” Wright replied, “Move the table.”1 That is a simple but also profound answer. What does God want us to do when the pressure is on? Pray, give it to Him, and move on. When we are going through difficult storms, we need to keep our eyes on God’s power to act on our behalf. We must remind ourselves that His power is always greater than our need and that we can praise Him in the midst of the storm. By the end of this short psalm, although David wasn’t out of the storm yet, he went ahead and started praising God. We should do the same when we find ourselves in storms and growing impatient for God to move.

“Thank You, LORD, for Your faithfulness in the past; it reminds us that You will be faithful today also.”

1 Brendan Gill, Many Masks: A Life of Frank Lloyd Wright (New York: De Capo Press, Inc., 1998), p. 271.