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God’s Wise Purposes

Today's Devotional

Read: Psalm 13 | Bible in a Year: Leviticus 26–27; Mark 2

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? Psalm 13:1

The United Kingdom brims with history. Everywhere you go, you see plaques honoring historic figures or commemorating sites where important events occurred. But one such sign exemplifies the droll British sense of humor. On a weathered plaque outside a bed and breakfast in Sandwich, England, a message reads, “On this site, Sept. 5, 1782, nothing happened.”  

Sometimes it seems to us that nothing is happening regarding our prayers. We pray and pray, bringing our petitions to our Father with expectation that He’ll respond—right now. The psalmist David expressed such frustration when he prayed, “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” (Psalm 13:1). We can easily echo those same thoughts: How long, Lord, before you respond?  

However, our God is not only perfect in His wisdom but also in His timing. David was able to say, “I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (v. 5). Ecclesiastes 3:11 reminds us, “[God] has made everything beautiful in its time.” The word beautiful means “appropriate” or “a source of delight.” God may not always respond to our prayers when we’d like Him to, but He’s always working out His wise purposes. We can take heart that when He does answer, it will be right and good and beautiful.

When have you prayed for something and felt that perhaps God was ignoring your requests? What lesson might you have learned in that time of waiting?

Loving God, please help me to learn a patience in prayer borne of trust in You.

For further study, read Why Doesn’t God Answer Me? 


Psalm 13 is a prayer of lament in which the psalmist brings four areas of lament to God. Each one begins with “How long . . .” and builds in intensity. First, the psalmist describes feeling neglected and abandoned by God—“Will you forget me forever?” The next question—“How long will you hide your face from me?” (v. 1)—accuses God of not just passively “forgetting” to care for the psalmist but actively choosing to withdraw His faithfulness. The next “how long” describes the psalmist’s continual internal anguish, which seems to worsen “day after day” (v. 2)—the longer this perceived abandonment continues. The final “how long” describes this experience as an enemy “triumph[ing] over me” (v. 2).

The psalmist boldly calls God to address each complaint—to “look,” “answer,” and “give light” (v. 3) so his enemies will be silenced (v. 4). He closes the psalm on a note of confident trust in God’s love (vv. 5-6).

By |2024-02-20T01:33:16-05:00February 20th, 2024|
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