Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Psalm 13 - Far More Questions than Answers

Time to "break it down" again.

Verses 1-2
How long...

  • Will God forget me?
  • Will he hide his face from me?
  • Must I wrestle with my thoughts?
  • Must I have sorrow in my heart?
  • Will my enemy triumph?
Verse 3a
A demand for God to answer

Verses 3b-4
Why God needs to answer

Verses 5-6
Statement of trust and praise

This psalm really does summarize my feelings.  I'm no longer angry at God (except every now and then), but I definitely understand questioning him.  I still feel like he is far off.  Really, I could echo most of the first two verses, claiming them as my own.  Then even put into words things I've had trouble explaining adequately.

For example, "Will [God] forget me forever?"  Are things ever going to get better, meaning am I ever going to get to the point where I no longer feel abandoned or distant?  "How long will [He] hide his face from me?"  And, why does it feel as if God is hiding his face from me?  Finally, "How long must I wrestle with my thoughts?"  Really, how long do I need to wrestle through the Psalms before God feels near to me again?  I really do feel like wrestling is the most apt description as I am battling for each and every minuscule amount of progress.

I wonder if David's demands for an answer were, in fact, answered.  He tells God to look on him and answer him, two very bold commands.  It encourages me to know that I can be equally as bold in asking God to answer me.  But, I also wonder, have I not been bold enough yet?  Or, have I been too bold?  Or, maybe it's just going to be awhile.  Did David get answered quickly?

David also had reasons to back up his demands.  What reasons do I have?  It's not killing me, as David alludes to in his own psalm.  I don't think the distance I'm feeling is making any enemies triumph over me.  What reasons could I possibly claim?

Finally, as I've noted repeatedly, David ends the psalm with praise and a promise of trust, even though no answer had been given.  It seems odd to me that he chooses to say he trusts in God because of his unfailing love, though.  After all, he was just complaining that God had basically turned away from him.  How could that possibly make him trust in God's unfailing love?  Could he perhaps have been only restating a long-ago accepted truth about God to reassure himself that God was, in fact, trustworthy?

Then, to end it all, David says he will sing praises because God has been good to him.  Again, it doesn't mesh with the previous verses.  Is David intentionally reminding himself of his blessings?

This, to me, is very frustrating.  I know I went into reading the psalms ready and willing to ask the tough questions and I said that I wouldn't be surprised if I ended up with even more questions.  However, I did not fully estimate the frustration that could come from 1) ending up with more questions than answers, and 2) not feeling any closer to God - at all.  I'm committed to keep working at it, but it's quite possibly even harder than I expected.  

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading you post Katie. We all feel at times that God is not near us, but that is so not true. The Bible says "He will never leave or forsake us." When we feel like He is not anywhere to be found, that's when we stand on his word. Sometimes it's a walk by faith and not by sight or by how we feel. I have learned to just tell the Lord how I feel respectfully of course. He knows anyway. He desires that kind of open and honest relationship with his children. There is a verse that says, "come let us reason together." You can come to him with all your questions. The great thing is he wants that kind of relationship with us. He loves you passionately. Try not to focus so much on your feelings, but upon who he is and the truth of his word. The feeling of his presence will come.. I promise. Rejoice in the fact that he saved you from your sins and that YOUR name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. You may not be where you want to be but you are not where you used to be! Praise him for that. Sometimes it's so good to just bow before him and praise Him with everything within you and not ask for a thing!! God bless you Katie!