Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Prayerful Paraphrase of Psalm 13

Psalm 13 is a succinct and very dear Lament Psalm of David. It speaks to us in our silence, when God appears distant. We hear the psalmist declare with intense honesty before God: his longsuffering pain and the enemy that consumes him. The psalmist fears most that they will not live through this torment (which we can liken to involve a mix of physical pain, mental disharmony, emotional distress, and dire spiritual unrest). But, typical with nearly all of the biblical laments of the Psalter, the psalmist has call to sing, eventually, having been saved (yet again) by the Lord’s steadfast love.
Verse 1
My God, how long? Have You forgotten me altogether? Will You not reign for me that I would again do Your bidding? Have You forgotten that call—Your call!—in my heart? I know that it was You that placed it there. But You have hidden Yourself from me; when I seek You all is silent. I love it that I can come before You, my God, and declare this resonating prayer, but I fail for waiting, and I wonder where You have gone. You seem very distant just now. I cannot remember when I last felt You near me.
Verse 2
My God, how long must I bear this torment; this fractured sense deep in my soul? Each day I awake I am reacquainted with my agony, and uncertainty grips me in the certainty of pain. Each day the whisper of sorrow remains with me. Each day I conclude the same as the last. God, I have a dog of a life. You know the cause, O God of my soul. It is my enemy; that enemy that rules over me; the enemy You allow, somehow for my good. It is hard for me to fathom. I wonder, God, how much longer?
Verse 3
I beseech You, my God, to consider me and to respond. If You supply no light for my eyes I will vanish into the slumber of my ancestors. My death is certain if You do not come.
Verse 4
And if You do not come what is to become of me as my enemy hovers? My enemy will have prevailed. They love it because I cannot endure.
Verse 5
But as I call upon You, as I pray before You, my God, You arise in my consciousness; I remember Your steadfast love; I remember trusting in it—long ago.
[Later, possibly much later...]
Somehow, through the backdrop of my prayer, and within the ensuing months and years, You did answer me, because I trusted You. Again, I rejoiced in Your salvation and my heart was glad.
Verse 6
Here, I will sing a song of praise to my God. I will sing for He has dealt lavishly with me. God is my God—Three-in-One—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I pray to the Father, in the name of the Son, empowered by the Holy Spirit. AMEN.
Agony and adoration is our dual lot—those of the Faith. Our identification is by both.
All sad and painful journeys come to peace for those who patiently trust God by prayer. That we have a God who cares, who does hear us, is enough now and always. God vindicates those who wait on Him.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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