How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the LORD’s praise,
for God has been good to me.
A Word of Hope
These are frustrating times. We are frustrated with the chaotic political scene, the pandemic that is re-writing our history, frustrated with each other, and sometimes even with God. How do we handle these disheartening feelings? Today’s scripture reading provides some considerations that could easily be our own. No writers of the Bible were as brutally honest with their raw emotions as were the writers of the Psalms, especially concerning their attitudes toward God. The writer, perhaps David, of Psalm 13, expresses a candor that reflects so many of our thoughts these days, giving voice to our broodings or maybe even to our prayers.
David covered our situations quite well: Have we been abandoned, forgotten, will our negative thoughts ever stop plaguing us, is there no end to the sorrows that surround us, will the bad guys forever claim the victories? Will we ever find our way, finally see the light, or forever be condemned to witnessing the triumph of this indiscriminate disease and these dispassionate leaders?
I believe the reason so many of the Psalms are attributed to David is that the inexperienced shepherd boy turned reluctant general turned dauntless but blemished king had, like no other, experienced the full variety of human challenges, yet never lost his faith. Did he question it? Many times! Did he abandon it? Never! The conclusion of this Psalm of anguish is one of the most optimistic in Scripture.
In the end, David was able to say God’s love of him was now and had always been unfailing. His simple shepherd’s heart could not confine the joys he had experienced in God’s salvation throughout one seemingly impossible situation after another. His praise could not be contained. He had to sing it out! He had been nurtured, guided, forgiven and loved through agonies that the modern reader could never imagine. Yet, because of his faith, his sorrows had been replaced by joys. In the end, David could summarize all of it with honesty and assurance: “God has been good to me.”
Teach us to walk the walk of David moment by moment, day by day. When the time at last comes for us to look back and assess these frustrating times, may each of us assuredly say, “God has been good to me.”
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare