Psalm 13
Where is God When I Hurt?

Have you ever had a crisis came your way, and you just could not figure it out?  Psalm 13 may help.    

Maybe you have had a loved one pass away, and the home that you had shared together is now empty.  Maybe you had a marriage go sour, and you found that your spouse cheated on you and the marriage ended in a bitter divorce.  

Maybe you have lost your job, and the bill collectors are calling at all hours of the night.  Maybe the bank is threatening to foreclose on your house, and you wonder how you are going to feed your family.  

Maybe you just go home from the doctor’s office, and you found out that you have a serious, life-threatening disease.  While there are treatments available to slow down the illness, or at least minimize the symptoms, you know that this disease will eventually take your life.  

It is a time when you could not make any sense of what was happening to you, or why God would allow you to experience such hardship.  

We read from Romans 8 that "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory" which is to come  (v. 18).   But as we are in the midst of present sufferings, it is hard for us to think of future glory.  

In verse 28 of that same chapter we are promised that “all things work together for good to those who love God”, but try as you may, you just cannot see how any good can come from what you are going through.    

It leaves you not only scratching our head, but if you are not careful, it can leave you questioning your faith.  If there is a God, why does He allow so much suffering?  You believe there is a God, but at the moment He doesn’t seem so interested in your life.  It seems as though He has abandoned you and does not care about your problems.  Have you ever had those kinds of thoughts?  Even Jesus, as He hung on the cross, cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”  (Matt. 27.46). 

The word that you might use to summarize those feelings is the word “grief.”  That leads us to Psalm 13 where David expresses the same thoughts that we often express when we have feelings of grief.  

Psalm 13:  Feelings You Can Expect When You Grieve

The problems of life that bring you to the point of grief will produce feelings that you can expect to have.  These feelings are normal, and these are the same feelings that David expressed when he wrote Psalm 13.  

You can expect to feel hopeless

You can expect to feel hopeless because it will seem as if your problems will ever end.  It will seem as if your problems will last forever.  They seem unending as if there is no light at the end of the tunnel.  

Psalm 13:1,2:  "How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?  How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?"

Four times in the first two verses of Psalm 13, David asks, “How long."  David is suffering.  David is mourning.  He has these problems, and to David, it seems as though there is no end in sight.

When you put together what David had said in verses 1 and 2, David is essentially asking, "How long, O Lord, are You going to stand by and allow me to suffer?”

While you are suffering, it seems as though your problems are unending.  When you feel that way, it is a good idea to be reminded of the statement made by the apostle Paul.

2 Corinthians 4.17:  "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory"

Your problems are not unending.  They are always “but for a moment.”  Even if you have these problems that will plague you the rest of your life, when you compare the duration of your life with the eternal life that is to come, you will see just how fleeting and momentary your problems really are  (James 4.14).  

You can expect to feel abandoned

Psalm 13.1:  "How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?"

Has there been times when it seemed as if God was at a distance?  Have you ever been tempted to believe in the doctrine of Deism?  This is the belief that there is a God and that He is the Creator of the Universe, the source of life, breath, and all things.  Yet all He did was set up the laws that govern the universe.  He set things in motion and then sat back and let everything take its own course.  In other words, it is the belief that God is not involved in the affairs of humanity.  

We know that "time and chance" happen to us all  (Ecc. 9.11), but have you ever felt that time and chance is all there is in life?  Have you ever felt as if God is not involved at all.  Have you ever felt that everything that happens to you and everything that has happened in your life both good and bad all happened because of blind chance?

Many of us have struggled with the question, “Where is God when I hurt?”  That is the question that David is asking in Psalm 13.  David asked, "Will you forget me forever?"  Some of us have wondered, not if there is a God, but is there a God that cares and is concerned about what happens to us?

When you are feeling that way, it would be good to remind yourself of Hebrews 13.4,5.

Hebrews 13.5,6:  "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'  So we may boldly say: 'The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'"

The word forsake is a combination of three different Greek words.  

  1. "En" is the Greek word for “in”.  
  2. "Kata" is the Greek word for "down."  
  3. "Leipo" is the Greek verb for "to leave."

The word translated as “forsake” is the idea of leaving someone when they are in a condition of being down.  It means to leave someone when they need you.  God promises that He will not leave us when we need Him.  

You can expect to feel sadness

When you are struggling with life, and there are great difficulties that you have to endure, it can leave you feeling deep sadness.

Psalm 13.2:  "How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?"

Have you ever woke up in the morning and found yourself dwelling on your problems?  Have you ever gone to bed at night and laid there thinking about your problems?  Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with fear in your heart, and no matter what you do, you cannot seem to get it off your mind?

The apostle Paul wrote to "rejoice in the Lord always" (Phil. 4.4), and you wonder how you can rejoice when you have this problem consuming your mind every waking moment? 

When you are feeling that way, it is good to be reminded of the word of the apostle Paul in Philippians 4.6,7.

Philippians 4.6:  "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

You can expect to feel ignored

Psalm 13.3:  "Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest my enemy say, 'I have prevailed against him'; Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved."

The word "consider" in the above text is the Hebrew word "nabat."  It means, "to look intently at; by implication, to regard with favor."  

The word "hear" in the above text is the Hebrew word "anah."  It means, "to pay attention; by implication, to respond."

Listen to what David is saying:  “Look intently at me.  Pay attention to what I am saying, and answer me, O Lord my God.”  David is pleading with God to pay attention to him and listen to his prayers.

Have you ever got down on your knees and prayed for help and got up feeling that it was an act of futility?  Have you ever tried to pray to God, but your heart was so full of grief that you just didn’t know what to say?  

When you are feeling as if God is not listening and responding to your prayers, it is good to remember the words of the apostle John in 1 John 5.14,15.

1 John 5:14,15:  "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him."

The Confidence You Can Have When Troubled by Life

Feelings of grief are normal and can be expected, but what helps you get through the hard times is to put your faith and trust in God.  This is what David did at the end of the Psalm.  In spite of all of the feelings David experienced, watch how he concluded Psalm 13.

Psalm 13.5,6:  "But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.  I will sing to the LORD, Because He has dealt bountifully with me."

In the last two verses of Psalm 13, David was able to endure the hardships of life by trusting in who God is.  He is a God of mercy.  The idea of mercy is that you put yourself in the place of another and see what it is like to be in their situation.  Then you treat them the way you would want to be treated if your roles were reversed.  

God is a God of mercy.  He knows what it is like to go through the difficulties you are facing, and He treats you accordingly.  That gives you the confidence to know that God will be there for you.  God will hear your prayers.  God will life you up.

David was able to endure the hardships of life because of all that God has done.  In spite of his hardships, David was blessed.  He enjoyed the bounty of God's gifts.  When you are suffering, remember all that God has done for you.  Think about your blessings, and be thankful for all that God has given you.  

Hardships will come.  It is our relationship with God that will help us through them all.  

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