Sunday, 6 December 2020
Title: Have you forgotten me, Lord?
By Elder Yu Chin Shie
1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Psalm 13, written by David, is another psalm which most of us can identify with. This psalm may be a reflection of the deepest of all pits that David had experienced. In this psalm, David was all alone and momentarily felt that even God had left him. It was one of David’s darkest hours when he felt abandoned by God.
Undoubtedly, we are not in the same situation as David. In this psalm he could be on the run from King Saul who was after his life. He had to hide in caves for his own safety. I am sure all of us had experienced a time/times of feeling being abandoned by God or felt distant from God. Perhaps some of us are having this feeling even right now.
In the opening 2 verses of Psalm 13, David asked the Lord four times “ ’How long’ will you hide your face from me? “
It is hard to continue praying when God doesn’t seem to hear or answer. We pray for a job, for healing and for salvation of a loved one. Sometimes it seems our prayers are falling on deaf ears or never went beyond the ceiling.
Many of the psalms express this kind of lament with God’s people wondering why God seems so distant in their period of suffering. Often, God’s silence has made our anguish even deeper and like David, we cry out “ every day, we have sorrow in our heart”.
How then shall we pray in these situations?
Firstly, from Psalm 13:1-2, we learn it is alright for us to be honest with God and tell Him of our anguish. Communication is important in any relationship and certainly with God. It is alright to have struggles and feel anguish.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
Secondly, Psalm 13:3 encourages us to pray for the Lord to “look on me and answer”. This verse reminds me of the Priestly Blessing given during benediction at the end of service.
“The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” Num 6:25-26.
We seek God’s face to be on us as it signifies His favor and grace on us.
Finally, Psalm 13:5 -6 end with confidence and trust in the Lord that He will answer :
“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me.”
When we bring our requests
to God, we receive the blessing of peace that surpasses all understanding, Philippians 4:6-7.
David’s peace and trust are not anchored in what God will do but what he knows God has done. His experience of God in the past gave him the confidence God will continue to hear him and deliver him from all his troubles.
A testimony –
More than 10 years ago, I had a very unpleasant health condition which caused me great anguish. Unexpectedly, I discovered I had a severe eczema attack. For those of you who may not know what eczema is, it is a condition where patches of skin become inflamed, itchy, cracked and rough. Some types can also cause blisters.
Eczema is a skin condition which nobody likes to have and it affected my legs and parts of my body except my face. The affected parts were very itchy and the inflammation of my skin was quite unbearable. I had seen the dermatologist and he had done whatever needed but to no avail. I was desperate for relief of my skin condition and needlessly to say, I prayed fervently for God to heal me. My agony lasted for nearly a year. My dad (now with the Lord) who visited me then asked “Is Jesus going to heal you?” I told him, “Dad, He will. In his time.”
There was never a doubt in my mind that Jesus would heal me during that period, even though like David, I prayed so often “why the delay, Lord?”. Looking back, I am thankful for the experience even though it was tough. I believe I had strengthened the faith of my dad who was a young Christian. Also, I had learnt to wait on the Lord, developed patience and spiritual maturity.
For any of you who are now in situations where you feel God is silent during this time of Covid 19 pandemic, I plead with you not to lose heart. Continue to trust in Him and pray faithfully. He will surely sustain you and deliver you as He has done in the past in His time.
We thank You that although at times we feel You are distant from us, You are actually ahead of us and waiting for us to catch up. Please grant us patience and faith in Your unfailing love for You will never forsake Your children.
In Jesus’ name,
民6:25-26 愿耶和华使他的脸光照你，赐恩给你！ 愿耶和华向你仰脸，赐你平安！
当我们祈求上帝，我们得到上帝所赐出人意外的平安。 （参腓 4:6-7 ）
湿疹是一种没人喜欢的皮肤病，除了我的脸，它影响了我的腿和身体的某部分。受影响的部位非常痒，皮肤的炎症让我难以忍受。我见过皮肤科医生，他竭尽所能帮助我，但都毫无用处。我迫切地想要缓解我的皮肤状况，我也恳切地祈求上帝让我痊愈。我的痛苦持续了将近一年。我父亲（如今已安息主怀）拜访了我，然后问： “耶稣会治愈你吗？” 我告诉他，“爸爸，他会的。按祂的时候。”