How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? Psalm 13:1
Listen: Psalm 13
Often our disappointment is initially centered on people or circumstances. We think, “Why are they acting this way?” or “If only this one thing were different.” But our disappointment doesn’t stay there. Instead of remaining centered on people and circumstances, it can easily become focused on God. This was the experience of David in Psalm 13. Instead of directing his disappointment to his “enemy” and “foes” (Psalm 13:4), he repeatedly places his question at God’s feet, “How long? How long? How long? How long?” It was a cry for help in a life-threatening situation.
In this psalm, David shows us the difference between a lament and complaint. A lament talks with God. Complaint talks about God. It’s really about direction. Which direction are you facing when you’re angry with God? We can either face and engage him in a conversation, or we can face away and complain about we perceive he has (or hasn’t) done. Another difference is the element of hope. A lament always, ultimately, expresses hope in God. Complaint never does.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
It’s not wrong to be disappointed with God. At some point and to some degree—we all are. The challenge is to respond appropriately, with lament rather than complaint. Today in your journal, write the title “Which Way Am I Facing?” at the top. Then, with your most challenging issue in mind, write a lament to God about it. If you need to, use this psalm as a model for your lament.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.