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How Long?

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? Psalm 13:1

In Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice in Wonderland, Alice asks, “How long is forever?” The White Rabbit responds, “Sometimes, just one second.”

That’s how time felt when my brother David suddenly died. The days leading to his memorial dragged on, intensifying the sense of loss and grief we felt. Every second seemed to last forever.

Another David echoed this sentiment, singing, “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?” (Psalm 13:1­–2). Four times in just two verses he asks God, “How long?” Sometimes the pains of life seem as though they will never end.

Into this heartache steps the presence and care of our heavenly Father. Like King David, we can honestly go to Him with our pain and loss, knowing that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). The psalmist discovered this as well, allowing his lament to move from a mournful minor key to a triumphant declaration: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (Psalm 13:5).

In our seemingly endless moments of struggle, His unfailing love will carry us. We can rejoice in His salvation.

For more insight, download the Discovery Series booklet Out of the Ashes: God’s Presence in Job’s Pain at discoveryseries.org/q0735.
In times of pain and loss, the timeless God is our greatest comfort.


Scholars disagree on the circumstances that prompted David to write Psalm 13. Some say that David’s enemy was Saul, who continually pursued David, seeking to kill him (v. 2). Others see the enemy as David’s son Absalom who conspired to drive David from the throne and take over as king (2 Samuel 15). Either way, the heartache David feels is real—driving him to God for help. David’s first response to these pressures is to complain about God’s seeming lack of response on his behalf, found in the repeated question “How long?” in Psalm 13:1–2. As David reflects on God’s past expressions of faithful love (v. 5), he finds reason to trust God even in his confusion and doubt. The closing note of praise (v. 6) expresses that trust—and anticipates God’s rescue.

When overwhelmed with the circumstances of life, do you find yourself wondering where God is? As you reflect on God’s faithfulness to you in the past it can remind you that He is worthy of your trust—even when you suffer and don’t know why. 

Bill Crowder

By |2018-04-03T17:18:17-04:00April 11th, 2018|
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