How Long, O Lord (Psalm 13)
September 1, 2014
Updated September 28, 2017
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I don’t know how I can withstand many more periods of grave darkness. “Oh, you can do it. Your faith is strong,” someone might say. But in the darkness, God seems invisible.
My cup of misery seems bigger than my faith. How did a life-loving, people-loving person become someone who wants desperately to die and who would rather be alone? How can I exit gracefully?
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope” (Lam. 3:21)—the promises I have claimed.
When God comes on the scene, I’m reassured that God is Immanuel—God with us. He is still near. Though at times, I don’t sense his presence, I will to trust that God is still near. He will make his love visible in ways that I do not comprehend. Sometimes God becomes visible when a friend calls and listens; a neighbor offers a cup of tea, or the bread and wine are shared. Then I see and experience God.
Yet there are many periods of black anguish.
How could I be in a depression again? It seems like there was such a short gap between feeling good and feeling in despair. Thoughts about spending the rest of my life in cycle after cycle of depression throw me into despair, and then into intense longing to be with Christ, where there will be no more night, no more pain, no more tears, no more crying again.
I remember the times when I was vibrant, joyful, and able to reach out to others. I grieve if I will see little of that person the future. If depressions will characterize my future, how long can I endure?
As far as the east is from the west, God’s love is longer and deeper than my suffering.
These words, “O Lord” are the foundation of all my laments. Like a petulant teenager to her parent, I insistently cry, “But why, O Lord?” “How long, O Lord?” “Will I ever see the sun?” Sometimes the name of my Creator tastes bitter on my tongue. Has our relationship failed? Have I failed God?
A wise pastor once said to me emphatically, “God will not fail you.”
Doubts that shout become a whisper, and what my faith claims to be true, I stand on. God and I are bonded together as Creator and creature. God looks lovingly on everything he has made. No matter what I feel, God will not let me go. I continue to call on God’s name—waiting for mercy. And God continues to hold me.
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