How long? I sense that question has been asked more in 2020 than in, well, a very long time. We've faced a string of challenges and trials that collectively impacted our lives in ways that few have ever experienced. Everyone has been affected and everyone is weary. Along the way, most have found themselves wondering "how long..."
How long 'til I can get a haircut? How long must we distance? How long until we can go out to eat with friends? How long 'til we can SING?!?
To some (especially under normal circumstances), that may sound like a litany of complaints. Sure, we recognize how times have been tough, yet we also feel a bit uncomfortable voicing our concerns - especially before God. We feel a bit like children, asking "are we there yet?" every five minutes of a 6-hour car ride. Yes, we've been inconvenienced. Yes, this is getting old. We're adults, though; we can do this. God has enough going on without us whining. Right?!?
Throughout the ages, God's people have approached difficulties - big and small - in a different manner. For the Hebrew people, how long wasn't merely a complaint; it was the beginning of a lament. A lament is a prayer that presents a need to God so that God may resolve it and further His glory and praise. In other words, concerns big and small are offered to God with the full expectation that God will address them. In that process, the glory and power of God will be revealed to all. So, while a lament leads off with questions and complaints, it concludes words of trust and praise.
Psalm 13 is a brief, yet powerful prayer of lament. A lament that speaks to some of the difficulties we might be feeling. If you find yourself struggling; uncertain and wondering how long this craziness and affliction will last, try praying Psalm 13 to God. Tell God of your troubles, and of your trust in God's unfailing love. Know that God cares! And know that God's provision and salvation will bring joy to your heart.
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and 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.
I will sing the Lord's praise,
for he has been good to me.