How Long, O Lord? (Psalm 13)

Does it ever feel as if God has forgotten you? That He’s too far away to hear you when you call? That no matter what you do, He won’t listen?

Well, I’m not here to tell you that even when it seems like God is not listening, He really is. Because no doubt you’ve already heard that one too many times. Hearing that God cares, that God is near, etc, etc, when it doesn’t feel like He is, sometimes doesn’t help. Sometimes, we just want to cry out, like David: “How long, O Lord, will you forget me?”

And that’s the beauty of the Bible. Inspired by God but written by people–people who make bad choices and feel pain, just like us–the Bible has quite a few psalms and passages where the human writers are crying out to God in pain and confusion. Life is not always wonderful, even for people who try to trust and follow God, and the Bible shows us that it’s okay to express our frustrations to God.

That’s why this Psalm resonates with me. I remember sitting at the piano, reading the Psalms to take a break from practicing, when I stumbled on this thirteenth Psalm. As I read through it, a melody came unbidden to my mind and I spent the next three hours getting it down rather than returning to whatever I was supposed to be practicing.

Eventually, this song emerged.

Psalm 13

1 How long, O LORD, will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts, and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death:
4 My enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.

Lyrics

How long, O LORD, will you forget me? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts, every day 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 love, in your unfailing love; I trust in your love, in your unfailing love
My heart rejoices in your salvation, and I will sing unto the Lord
My heart rejoices in your salvation…for he has been good to me.

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