How Long?

How Long?

Category : General

Psalm 13: 1 (KJV)

1 How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? forever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?


It is said, “Prayer is not only the proper reaction of the godly to trouble, it is also the effective medicine against depression in the face of it.”


When we experience difficult trials and tribulations, we normally pray to God and ask Him for immediate relief.  However, as we all know, God answers prayer in His own time, so we may not receive immediate help from Him.  We may have to go through many days, or weeks, or months or years of trying times!


The psalmist breaks out into this cry “in the midst” of his troubles. Four times the cry, “How long?” rises from the plaintive lines, the evident distress of the psalmist deriving from his impression that God has forsaken him, hiding his face from him, and that somehow God’s favor at the moment does not rest upon him. This consciousness of separation from God has indeed brought an agony of near-despair to the Psalmist.  He had apparently borne them as long as he could. It seemed as if they would never come to an end. We may presume that he had been patient and uncomplaining; that he had borne his trials long with the hope and belief that they would soon terminate; that he had waited patiently for deliverance, uttering no words of complaint; but now he begins to despair. He feels that his troubles will never end. He sees no prospect of deliverance; no signs or tokens that God would interpose; and he breaks out, therefore, in this language of tender complaint, as if he was utterly forsaken, and would be forever. The mind, even of a good man, is not infrequently in this condition. He is borne down with troubles. He has no disposition to murmur or complain. He bears all patiently and long. He hopes for relief. He looks for it. But relief does not come; and it seems now that his troubles never will terminate. The darkness deepens; his mind is overwhelmed; he goes to God, and asks – not with complaining or murmuring, but with feelings bordering on despair – whether these troubles never will cease; whether he may never hope for deliverance.


It is also noted that the reasons for the psalmist’s distress are not far to seek. (1) God is the source of all happiness; (2) he is the source of all wisdom; (3) he is the source of all strength; and (4) he is the source of life itself.[3] Because the psalmist feels separated from God, he has (1) sorrow, (2) feels the need of counsel (Psalms 13:2), (3) is weak before his enemy (Psalms 13:2), and (4) has a fear of death itself (Psalms 13:3).


However, it is strange indeed that children of God are not exempt from such feelings of abandonment and despair, and we are left in wondering as to why it should be so. Perhaps the Lord wishes to drive us to our knees repeatedly that we should ever rely upon Him and not upon ourselves.


Have a great and God filled day!


Pastor C