How Long, O Lord?

“’How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and everyday have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation, for He has been good to me.” — Psalm 13


David, the author of this psalm, experienced the highs and lows of life as we all do. He knew what it felt like to be on the run when King Saul was trying desperately to kill him. He experienced the pain and anguish of his soul after his sin with Bathsheba. He witnessed the destruction of his family—a daughter raped by a son, followed by the murder of that son by another son, in an act of revenge. He was betrayed by a family member as well as many friends. He experienced bouts of despair and depression as the Psalms attest. During some of his darkest days and nights, he felt abandoned by God.

Have you ever felt like this? Perhaps you are going through a time of darkness as you read this. Perhaps you have been praying for God’s deliverance and your prayers seem to go unnoticed. So, what should you do?

First, draw near to God by spending time in the Word and in prayer. We all need to be familiar with the full counsel of God’s Word. For example, Jesus said in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Don’t listen to the prosperity preachers who present a false gospel. This life is not about health and wealth. Just look at the life of Paul (2 Cor. 11:21-29). He experienced many hardships. He was flogged five times, beaten with rods three times, stoned once and left for dead. He faced many dangers and dealt with great pressures. His life is more typical of the life of someone who walks closely with the Lord. Life is difficult.

Second, keep trusting in the Lord and reflect upon His goodness towards you. This is what David did. Notice the last verse above. “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation, for He has been good to me.” If you are in Christ, this world is not your home. Heaven is! One day, you will pass through death’s door and stand before Jesus in paradise and all of this world’s trials and tribulations will pass from memory. In fact, I believe we will see how God used them for our good (Romans 8:28), and we will thank Him for them.

Finally, we need to have the mindset of those followers of Christ who have gone before us. Hebrews 11:13-16 states, “All these people (OT believers) were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were looking for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” Believers must keep looking forward to our heavenly home. We must keep our eyes on Jesus until that day arrives. We must never forget His promise to be with us and that He will never leave us no matter what we are going through. We must remember that He loves us and will be faithful to fulfill all of his promises. A better day is coming and it will be here quickly. Keep the faith. Press onward and upward. Do not lose hope.