“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?”
~Psalm 13:1 (NRSV).
The paradoxically fortunate blessed know the emotion clung to the above sentiment; some are selected—perhaps the many—for growth ‘treatment’ at the receiving end of God’s silence.
Of course, this passage might be considered blasphemous if only it wasn’t cited from the Holy Bible. Just goes to show how real God expects us to relate with him.
Psalm 13 is famous for speedy transitions, seeing David turning full circle, but we’re to see these first two lines as his dyed-in-the-wool honesty ringing through—raw and real human emotion.
The Truth – We Will Feel ‘Forgotten’
The blessed are forgotten for their own good and for their growth.
Bold statement, that one.
But it’s true that those who’ve felt forgotten by God, those accepting the Lord’s silence for reasons beyond their understanding, have gone on in growth past where their will was taking them.
God makes good out of all things that we suffer well... eventually.
Sorrow will facilitate within us the softening of an oft-hardened heart—it’s our golden propensity to harden up without the coarseness of God’s purging Spirit flushing clean our vessels built for love.
A Hope With Which To Hold Onto
The difference for the psalmist, and certainly for us, is we can bear all kinds of silences and unanswered prayers so long as we have a hope.
The moment our hope transforms into despondency, then we’re in trouble.
But the feature of the fire of growth—in the context of being ‘forgotten’ by God—is we’ll routinely lose our hope. This will happen often enough that we’ll find ways of habitually reclaiming it; the Spirit teaches us how to gather sufficiency in the Spiritual realm.
The importance of this cannot be overstated.
We will not be conformed to God’s good and perfect will because of ourselves, but despite ourselves. The silence is discipline—and a necessary one at that—for all will undergo their silence before God, unless they’re so well piqued at the Presence and power of Divine grace. Rare is that!
All Ends Well!
Kept in sharp focus is the ending of this psalm. It’s like David has written part of it in dire lament and come back to it months, even years, later when all was resolved... and why?
He trusted in the Lord’s steadfast love (verse 5) and then—at the right time—he was vindicated (verse 6).
It will be like this for those of us not felt heard. God will break through and make his ways known to us; the meaning in this moratorium will resonate.
In the meantime, we stretch out our arms and our hearts in an ever-strengthening, cogent hope.
Find the hope; it is an anchor for your soul.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.