To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
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? (Psalm 13:1–2)
You might be thinking, perhaps this isn’t a typical verse to start an “encouraging” devotion. I will admit, it does strike a different tone, but hang with me just for a moment. In our life with Christ, we should work against being led to believe that every single minute of every single day of our life after salvation will be filled with nothing but happiness and “good times.” It doesn’t take very long to look through the Scriptures to come to the conclusion that life is often just downright hard, and Christians don’t automatically get a free pass from suffering. But if we believe we cannot go to God when we are sorrowful, hurting, in pain, weak, tormented by the guilt of our sin, devastated, lonely, uncertain, or when we feel like God has forgotten us, we are believing something God Himself has never said. In fact, God has told us just the opposite: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
When we are uncertain what to pray or how to pray–and at the times when we are at our lowest it can almost seem impossible to know how or what to pray–God in His great wisdom and mercy has actually given us the words to say. “How long, O LORD? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?” (Psalm 13:2).
Dear friends, God is not angry when you come to Him sad, angry, depressed, or distraught. He won’t cast you aside because you’re not 100% happy 100% of the time. Jesus, our Great High Priest, knows first-hand every sorrow and every pain you experience, and He urges you, “Come to me.”
In our laments, which is what these kinds of expressions of grief and sorrow are called, God hears our every word, our every cry. As we cry out to Him, He encourages us to remember His faithfulness to us in Christ. With our eyes and our minds then fixed on Christ, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, knowing we can trust Him with all things in all ways, even in the midst of our sorrow we can still sing with the psalmist,
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD,
because he has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13:5–6)