How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Abandoned. Forgotten, Set adrift by God to languish in an endless ocean of grief without sail or paddle, subject to the capricious nature of the currents. David feels such grief. In his conflict with those who would seem him ruined he has become convinced that God has turned away from him. The heartache pours out of each line of this Psalm.
David is not alone in his grief. How often have I as a pastor heard the same words from people, “Why has God abandoned me?” The cry of bewilderment that wants an answer from God is on David’s lips and has been on the lips of countless faithful people over the ages. The pain is real. The voice of the Lord remains silent. David never gets an answer to his plea for God to speak. Yet, remarkably David does not stay in despair. Instead he looks back on God’s faithfulness in times past, times when God has made His presence known and dealt bountifully with David. Because of God’s faithfulness in the past, David will rejoice in the present, in his salvation.
How often do I complain to God about current circumstances and forget that He has provided me with an answer to my deepest struggle even terror? He has provided me with eternal life through Christ. He has given me the salvation of my soul, not only in the life to come but in this life as well. I complain about my circumstances but how much worse would they be if not for Christ. Would I even be alive today to draw breath with which to complain to God?
Follower of Christ, no matter your circumstances today, God has not abandoned you. He may be remaining silent for a time but that is for your own growth, a chance to reflect in the quietness, an opportunity to look back on all His benefits and rejoice in your salvation. God never answered David in this Psalm and it is good that he did not, because in the silence David remembered all the goodness of God and he leaned into that remembrance and trusted once again and rejoiced and gave praise.