In Psalm 13, David repeats this question four times.
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 every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
How long, how long, how long. Obviously, David didn’t wake up one morning and suddenly feel abandoned by God. Over time God’s lack of action or answers led him to feel forgotten. Although God promises to never leave us or forsake us, our circumstances can trump God’s truth in our lives. Even worse, when we are in a negative place it can appear like everybody is plotting against us and we are on the losing team.
Have you confronted God with the same question too?
How long will my son be addicted to drugs?
How long must we wait for a positive pregnancy test?
How long until I find a spouse?
How long will my heart be broken?
For my husband and I, we feel we’ve been in a bit of the wilderness the past few years. We are moving, building organizations, contributing to others, but not reaching our desired destination. We pour out our sweat, prayers, energy, and tears and the return doesn’t seem to match our level of investment. It feels like pouring water in a bucket full of holes.
The end of the Psalm David says:
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.
When I look at the passage in its entirety, it teaches me a few valuable lessons that I can apply to our current wilderness.
I can have sorrow in my heart and sing to God simultaneously.
In fact, this seems to be the key to making it through the hard times. I can get so stuck in my sorrow that I neglect to sing to the Lord. I can wrestle with my thoughts and still find a way to rejoice in salvation.