Monday, March 21, 2011

How Long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?

"How Long O Lord? Will you forget me forever?" Can we really pray God? The truth is, sometimes I don't know what else to pray. I've been reflecting on Psalm 13 because it's been particularly relevant to me. How do we view suffering in our life, how to we endure hardship?

Once again I've been struggling with a weak and hurting voice. It started three years ago and was fairly extreme. No talking for at all for four months, plus another eight months of slow recovery. While my voice has never fully recovered, it's generally been pretty functionable for the last two years. But still, it hasn't fully recovered.

This winter something triggered it again and sent it back down into the dumps. For months now I spend hours each day doing the things that are supposed to make it better: stretching, humming, warming up my voice, eating healthy, drinking lots of water, exercising, using a humidifier, getting good sleep, taking long vocal breaks. But still it seems to get no better (or maybe a little better one day and then worse again the next).

I want to shout, I want to cry out to God: HOW LONG, O LORD? HOW LONG? When I first lost my voice the Lord used it to redirect my life; I had been building my life on the wrong things, and losing my voice helped me regain proper focus and learn how to trust and how to let go. But I don't get that sense from Him I am doing things grossly wrong. That's not why he's letting this happen. So why then? I am try to do everything right, and instead I'm met with hardship and suffering.

Welcome to the Christian life, right?

God has a purpose. If I've learned anything in my life, I've learned that God is in control ESPECIALLY when it seems like He's not. King David, when he wrote this Psalm was on the run for his life. For what? For doing good. He cried out to God because it didn't make sense? How long should he be rewarded evil for good? But in the end, David became an even better king than Saul because he learned sympathy, he learned to trust God and not himself. Suffering made him a better man and a better king. If we meet only success for our good efforts, we are likely to become like Saul and think we've always earned our success.

It's still ok to admit that suffering is hard, and to ask God to show himself when we can't see him. But let's also pray: "I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation." Never has God failed me yet, and I know that ultimately I will not be forgotten or rewarded evil for good, because Christ was ultimately ignored, and rewarded the ultimate evil for doing the ultimate good. My heart will rejoice once again.

Psa 13:1-6
(1) To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
(2) How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
(3) Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
(4) lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed over him," lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
(5) But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
(6) I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.