“How long, O Lord?” How often have you cried these words in times of suffering?
It is a universal plea. Time slows to a crawl in times of suffering, and the answer to the question “how long” is always too long.
This suffering is all-encompassing. There is suffering in the soul of the psalmist in Psalm 13. There is suffering in the perceived absence of God. There is suffering at the hands of enemies. This person is being attacked from all sides. No wonder there is a desperate plea for relief!
But the psalm ends the way suffering must also end – with the presence and intervention of a loving God. The psalmist trusts in God, rejoices in the inevitable salvation from suffering, and sings praise for God’s goodness. All of these are hard to do when one is at rock bottom. I wonder whether the psalmist praised because the suffering ended or if the suffering ended because the psalmist praised.
When my first baby was 16 months old, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. For a year we went to doctors, learned all we could, struggled through blood tests and shots, high and low blood sugars, and new diets. Then he got very sick and spent several days in the hospital. The night he came home from the hospital, I put him to bed, and then I sat on my bed screaming and crying and cursing at God. My fit went on for a long while until I was completely spent. Finally, in the silence of a broken spirit I heard a voice, quiet but powerful. It said, “Trust Me.” Chills ran through me as I recognized the voice of God. It said, “Trust in Me. You have placed all your trust in the medical system. Learn from them, but trust in Me.”