This week is a double post week- My schedule is currently a bit crazy, and I apologize that I missed last week.
“How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.”
Most of us have been in this place- feeling far from God and as though He is distancing himself. David seems to have been facing some sort of trial. One thing is certain from the repetition of “How long”- David yearned to be with God no matter what. We often accept defeat when we feel far from God. Yet, I think Jesus expressed the same feeling as he prepared for death on the cross, as surely the greatest pain He felt was actually in being separated from His Father. It is easy to go head first into a trial when we feel God is going with us. But perhaps your trial is meant to be like Jonahs and you can look back and see how God was really with you all along. It doesn’t make it any easier. Of course, God did not forget David, nor was he hiding, but perhaps David had begun to rely too much on ‘feeling’ that God was with him instead of believing it, so for David his words were true and his test difficult.
In feeling the absence of the Lord, David had looked inward. When I feel troubled or discouraged, looking inward for uplifting has always lead to further disappointment. I think I have shared this before, but when I focus inward for help, I spiral downward quickly. The enemy weaves lies, he will bring up things that I thought I’d overcome, but when you feel far from the Lord those truths that you felt you had replaced the lies with are no where in sight. It’s not until I go to Him in prayer that I feel released. (“The truth will set you free.”) But prayer isn’t always first on my mind when God feels far.
David even prays for his relationship with God. Sometimes God needs us to get to the place where we are desperate for Him before He will speak to our situation. David seeks wisdom, and not only that, he seeks to avoid falling into a spiritual sleep. He truly is desperate to know that God had heard him. And in reality, God never said following Him would be easy. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations” James 1:2- James got that these trials would be to our benefit and we should rejoice that God would let us experience difficulties for the building up of His kingdom to be realized through us.
David recognizes that his enemies may count his troubles as a victory for themselves, so he determines, as James writes, that he will rejoice. You remember that talk of truth setting you free? When you know that God isn’t seeking your destruction, it is easier to determine that the enemy will not claim victory over you. God had to get Elijah to that place where he could look back and see all the goodness of God and recognize that he was never alone. And when Elijah knew that he had reason to believe, he found it easier to continue. (Referencing the chain of events in Elijah’s life beginning in 1 Kings 18 and continuing to at least chapter 20.) Have you ever gotten to that place? Maybe David was facing a similar sort of trial, with enemies rising up against him, but the evidence of God’s goodness piled up around him.