At times life seems harder than we can bear, especially on days when we’re stunned by grief, worried about the situation in the world, distressed over health or finances, or reeling from waves of trouble. We long for joy in the morning, but sometimes we’re in the darkest night.
In 1 Samuel 30, while fleeing the armies of King Saul, David was attacked at Ziklag by the Amalekites. His family was kidnapped, the town was burned, and his men rebelled against him. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong, and it was David’s darkest hour. He wept till he had no more strength to weep.
According to 1 Samuel 30:6, David responded to his trouble by strengthening himself in the Lord. That simple statement is a sermon to our souls. David was under incredible strain as his circumstances had gone from bad to worse. Yet he refused to give up. He knew how to strengthen himself in the Lord by shifting his attention from his hopelessness to his Helper. Today, we need to remember that all our troubles are temporary, and all our blessings are eternal.
We don’t know when David wrote Psalm 13, but the psalm certainly fits this occasion.
Psalm 13 opens with David darkly crying: “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily?”
These words were written by a man so low in spirits he feared the omniscient God had forgotten him and the loving God had forsaken him. I wonder if you’ve had moments like that. Emotional pain is the cruelest kind, and hopelessness is one of the cruelest kinds of emotional pain. During times of despair, it’s best to be frank about our feelings and to pray honestly, like David, who cried, “How long, O LORD?”
As we continue reading Psalm 13, however, we see David turn a corner in verse 3, as he continued, “Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed against him’; lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved” (verses 3-4).
Though David felt abandoned, he knew better in his heart. His knowledge of God was greater than his emotions of despair. His theology was stronger than his feelings. Despite his pain, he managed to pray, asking God to consider him and to hear him in his hour of need.
There’s one thing we know about the night: It’s not permanent. We are not forsaken, not forgotten, not destitute, not detached. If we can lift our eyes heavenward and whisper a prayer in Jesus’ name, we’ll eventually see a glow on the horizon as the sun begins to rise with healing in its rays. The Lord has a way of imparting grace when we need it most. He enables us hour by hour and moment by moment. He reminds us that our momentary afflictions are not worth comparing to the glory to be revealed.
The Lord doesn’t want us to be stuck in the regrets of yesterday or seized by fear of tomorrow. We simply trust Him for today. He gives grace from moment to moment; and as the hours pass, the darkness turns to dawn and the dawn to daylight.
As we come to the end of Psalm 13, David senses the possibility of rejoicing once again. “I have trusted in Your mercy,” he wrote. “My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me” (verses 5-6).
Let me leave you with some hopeful hints for the darkness.
You can strengthen yourself in the Lord. God hasn’t forsaken us, even though the darkest hours in our lives make us feel alone and forgotten. Don’t give up. Moment by moment, His sustaining care will turn the darkness to dawn, the dawn to daylight.
David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church and the founder and host of Turning Point for God. For more information about David Jeremiah, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.
As you read Christ Above All, Dr. Jeremiah’s study of Colossians, you’ll come to better know who Jesus is theologically. In other words, the truth about Him—the whole truth and nothing but the truth—will thrill you. Our minds need solid doctrine so we’ll have a solid relationship with Christ, built on personal reverence for Him and friendship with Him.