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“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?”
- Psalm 13:1-2  

“How long?” the Psalmist David asks.  Or perhaps he’s not even asking the question; perhaps he’s demanding it.  “How long, Lord?”  

It seems these days that this is the most frequently uttered question—one that every single person on the planet has probably asked at one point or another.

We wonder how much longer we will need to hold out, how long until we can see friends and family, how long until we can host people in our homes, how long until we don’t have to tip-toe around others and feel like a walking germ-ball, how long until our minds can feel at peace.  

Reading through Psalm 13, I was struck particularly by verse 2: “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts….”   

What an interesting way for David to put it; yet how common this experience is.  How many of us are feeling like our minds are never shutting off?  Or that they’re too shut off, and we’re worried about it?  How many of us have gone back-and-forth, feeling pushed between differing views, opposite sides of ‘truth’, fearful that we’re making the wrong choices or missing something?  How many of us have questioned our own mental health, or have felt a loss of purpose, or have been overwhelmed by sorrow?  How many of us feel more tired more often because of this wrestling of thoughts?  

Regardless of how busy or not we are, we all have the capacity to be lost in the dark side of our imaginations—wandering into an endless flurry of fears, worries, anxieties, questions, curiosity—and constantly asking the ‘what if’ questions.  

This Psalm gives voice to the restlessness of our minds.  It gives us permission to feel the way we do, and it enables us to see a spiritual brother in David who wrestled in a similar place.  

But interestingly, the Psalm doesn’t end there.  It doesn’t end with the same tone—few psalms do.  It ends, instead, with this in verse 5: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.”  
“But,” says David.  However.  Yet.  Nonetheless.  Although.  Still.  Notwithstanding.  Even so.  Be that as it may.  

“I trust.”  

David ends by focusing his thoughts on the unfailing love of God, and His heart is drawn back to worship—even if it’s, perhaps, a grumbling-agitated-wrestling-‘I’m-still-angry’ kind of worship. Regardless of his circumstances, despite the overwhelming sorrow and fear, he looks outside of himself and he fixates his mind on the presence of God.

Brother Lawrence once wrote this:  

Pray remember what I have recommended to you, which is, to think often of God, by day, by night, in your business, and even in your diversions.  He is always near you and with you; leave Him not alone… Do not then forget Him, but think of Him often, adore Him continually, live and die with Him; this is the glorious employment of a Christian; if we do not know it we must learn it.  

It is our ‘glorious employment’ to think often of God and to consider his unfailing love.  He is the one who runs after us, who pursues us, whose love follows us into the deepest of caverns and the darkest of seasons.   

May we not yet forget Him.    

Living God, our hearts are restless and our minds feel like a flurry of wrestling thoughts.  Guide us, our Great Redeemer.  Nourish us by Your Word, strengthen us by Your Spirit, and lead us deeper into relationship with You, our great Shepherd.  May we consider You often, and may Your Spirit bring to mind others who may need our prayers today.  Amen.  

Song:  I Shall Not Want - Audrey Assad