How long?

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How long, O Lord?

Does that sound familiar? Circumstances and people immediately come to most of our minds as we wonder: How long will this … last?

For David, the question was not only how long he would have to be bothered by his enemies, but also how long before he felt again the presence of the Lord in the circumstances he was facing. So often our troubles are equated with a feeling that God has abandoned us. David faced this same gnawing doubt in Psalm 13.

How long, how long, how long…?

He was feeling pretty low. He describes himself as wrestling with his thoughts and having sorrow in his heart, and feeling like he may as well be dead (vs 2, 3). That may be startling news considering who we are talking about. But David was not ashamed to admit that he was overwhelmed. We can relate. How often have we wrestled with fear, anxiety, and doubt? How many “sad” days have become a part of our reality? How many of us have wished for death as an escape from the pain of life?

But then, through the gloom and doom, comes this ray of light. David caps off this brief psalm this way: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me” (vs. 5, 6).

It’s hard to pull ourselves away from the, “How long, O Lord?” and the fears, sadness and despair that often accompanies us through life, to renew our convictions about God and to remember and rejoice in His salvation. It’s hard to remember His goodness in the midst of “badness.”

But it is necessary.

It’s a little like the blood pressure pill I take every morning. When the pressure soars, that little pink pill brings it down to where it needs to be and prevents me from suffering complications that might be disastrous. Like that little pill, taking a step back to pull away from the pressures of life to confirm my trust in the Lord, my joy at His provision for eternity and His goodness to me in the right here and the right now, helps the pressure subsides. It never goes away (I need a little to get motivated) but it is back where it needs to be, calmed by the assurance that God’s love will never fail, His salvation is guaranteed, and His goodness is worth singing about.

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