Agony & Ecstasy | Part 1

The following is Part 1 of a series of posts/reflections on Psalm 13.

David’s Lament (vv. 1-2)

In Psalm 13, we encounter a man who understands the relationship between the love of God and the pain of life in a world wrecked by sin.

David prays brutally honest things here. It is a prayer of lament that follows the traditional structure of lament:

  • Lament/complaint (vv. 1-2)

  • Petition/request (vv. 3-4)

  • Expression of trust (vv. 5-6)

Have you ever prayed like this? Most of the time, we don’t know the specific causes of lament prayers and it is absolutely intentional.

Why? Because there are a million ways to pray, “How long O Lord?”

The salvation of a friend. Sick children. Feeling distant from God. Suffering. Shaky political climate. Nagging sin. Relational strain. Insecurity. There is no end.

The lack of clarity around the circumstances is intentional because, when we come to prayers like this, the relevant question is not, “What is wrong with the author?”

Instead, the important questions God invites us to ask are, “What is wrong with me…who or what is my enemy?”

Seeing prayer through the Psalms

The Psalms teach us that prayer is the language of faith in good times and bad. And prayer is for those who know that they are not self-sufficient. It is expressed helplessness.

Prayer is the language of people who are in trouble and know it — and who believe God can get them out. When we pray, we undermine the worldly wisdom that insists, “You can do this on your own.”

Read through verses 1-2 (David’s lament):

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Prayer is the conversation where your real life and the real God meet.

He isn’t afraid of your honesty. There is freedom here to stop dressing up your prayers so that they sound like something out of a hymnal.

David is not messing around here: “Are you hiding your face from me, God?”

For God to hide His face was a sign of wrath and punishment. David feels more than forgotten. Whatever he is dealing with, he feels like either God doesn’t care or is punishing him:

How long will my enemy triumph over me?

The God who hears honest prayer

In the Psalms, God is supposed to triumph. God is supposed to be exalted. David feels like God has been removed from the throne. The place he looks for help is occupied by his enemies.

Ask yourself, “Am I honest with God when I talk with Him?”

Take a step towards your Good Father — walk in honesty before Him. He can handle it. He wants the real you. He invites you.

In Part 2, we’ll take a look at David’s request of God.