13 How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
Have you ever felt abandoned by God? Ever thought that God was actually hiding from you, and refused to hear your prayers? You’re not alone – David felt this way, probably more than once. I imagine this might have been written when David was hiding from his son Absalom in the caves. I know I have felt that way.
I took a spiritual journey back in 2008 that I will always be thankful for. I spent that 8 months at Pure Life Ministries in Dry Ridge, Kentucky. It was a place for people, mostly in ministry, that were caught up in pride and needed to get things right in their lives. The place was amazing, and I hope to share more about it in future blogs. For the purpose here, let me get to the point.
We were bathed in scripture, spiritual books, and church services 7 times a week. You could feel the Holy Spirit as you walked the grounds it was so present. Our day would start at 3:30 in the morning and end around 10 at night, both ends filed with prayer and devotion. You really could not escape God’s presence there.
Yet I remember one particular time that I felt abandoned by God. It was very early in the morning on a weekend – probably around 3 AM. I woke up in a sweat and could not go back to sleep, so I got up and headed out to the ridge. I started praying but felt nothing. The trail on the ridge led down to a full size rugged cross. As I approached the cross, I started weeping, and could not feel God’s presence at all. It was the first time since I had arrived that it seemed I was alone. I knelt at the cross and wept as I recited Psalm 51 “Have Mercy on me Oh God, according to thy lovingkindness.” I was weeping, but not feeling God’s presence. Slowly I went through that whole Psalm, feeling I was alone and abandoned by God. But by the time I got to the end of the Psalm, I felt God come in like a flood, and joy filled my heart.
I learned a valuable lesson that morning. When it seems like God is far away, just start praising him – you’ll find He is right there beside you. Just start speaking His word, and He will speak it to you. God is never far away, my friends. He is always right there.
Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
4 Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
It seems that David was more worried about the enemy boasting they have defeated the man of God then he was with his own death! He was concerned with God’s legacy, not his own. Yes, he wanted to be heard by God – he wanted God to consider what he was going through and lighten his load. But then he worries about the enemy boasting in David’s defeat. David did not want that, because what would that say about God’s ability to help David.
I can’t say that I worry that much about how God looks in a particular situation – I worry more about how people perceive me. So when this cancer decided to attack my body, I made a decision that I would follow doctor’s orders and I would completely put myself in God’s hands. After all, God gave the doctors the wisdom to put the treatment together. God was in control, and I would just trust Him, stay upbeat, and praise Him at every chance. This attitude has brought glory to God, and many have taken notice that I have come through good so far. I don’t expect that to change. God is glorified by our actions and attitudes. Make sure yours is right.
5 But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
6 I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.
How amazing is David’s determination to praise the Lord. Just 6 short verses earlier, he is wondering if God has abandoned him. Now, He realizes that God’s supply is bountiful, and he starts to praise him. It could be that David still felt abandoned, but the knowledge of what God has already done is enough for David to start to worship.
What a great lesson for us! What has God done for you? I can write a long list of things God has already done. He saved me, kept me safe, brought me to my wife, gave me wonderful children who are all healthy, healed me numerous times, delivered me from drugs and alcohol, protected me, provided for me, – on and on. If something bad comes my way, it should never stop my praise. I can draw on the things He has already done and praise Him for that, or you can trust that if He delivered you before, He’ll do it again. My wife used to sing a song with the Title He’ll do it again, and the first verse goes like this.
You may be down and feel like God
God is so good. Don’t fret, don’t be dismayed, don’t think He doesn’t care. God is always there, and He will take care of you. Just praise Him!