Journey From Sadness - Psalm 13
Journey From Sadness to Song
Never Forget You Are A Citizen of Heaven
Everyone, including the Christian, experiences times of hardships and sadness.
Psalm 13:1-6 How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? Forever? 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? (3) 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. (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. (KJV Bible)
Everyone, including the Christian, experiences times of hardships and sadness. The difference is that the dedicated Christian has Christ and the Scriptures to help him/her navigate the journey. What an exciting difference!
Let me ask you, “What is your most favorite Scripture during your time of discouragement?” The narrative is told of a Sunday class that had been asked this very question, “in your time of desperation, what is your much loved Scripture?” A youthful man said, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want … Psalm 23:1.” A middle age woman said, “God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. … Psalm 46:1. Another person said, “In this world you shall have tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome this world. … John 16:33-35. Then elderly Mr. John took his turn. The white haired, 80 year old, dark skinned and feeble man stood and declared, “'and it came to pass' 85 times in the Bible." Laughter was heard in the background as the class thought that Mr. John had just gotten mixed up. However, the wise old sage continued, “At 30 I lost my job, and with six kids and a wife to feed, I didn’t know how I would make it. ‘And it came to pass!’” “At 40 my eldest son was killed abroad in the war. It killed my spirit. I felt I wasn’t going to make it! ‘And it came to pass!’” “At 50 my home burned to the ground. I lost everything, but ‘And it came to pass!’” “At 60 my wife caught cancer. We had been married 40 years. Night after night we were together on our knees. However, at 65 she died. A part of me died, and I still miss her even now. ““The pain I went through in each of these was unbelievable. I pondered where God was. Each time, I looked to the Bible, and each time I discovered the adage of one of those 85 verses that said, ‘And it came to pass!’” “God has seen me through every sadness!”
· We cannot know for sure David’s story behind this Psalm. However, it is probably when David was running from King Saul (1 Samuel 24-26). David knew he was destined to be king, but the jealousy of Saul drove him into hiding. Saul defined David as a terrorist before the people, and put a reward on his capture. Saul even pursued the future king with 3000 of his best soldiers. He and his army came to a cave, not knowing that David and his men were there in hiding. Saul decided to take a rest in the cave while his men kept watch outside. Saul fell into a deep sleep. This gave David a perfect chance to kill the king, but he chose to merely cut a piece of cloth from his robe. David’s men were urging him to kill the king, but David refused. He wanted to do what was right and not what was convenient. After Saul left the cave, David shouted out and told him, “Open your eyes, King. I could have taken your life as an alternative to cutting off a piece of your robe. Isn’t this proof I am not your enemy? Why do you keep chasing me? Why are you stalking me again and again?” With this the king went home, and agreed not to pursue David anymore. David was free at last! NO! Within two chapters Saul is after David again!
In Psalm 13 David cries, “How long?!” four times. The journey from sadness to song begins with this question.
Psalms 13:1-2 How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? forever? 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?
Victory of the Cross
The journey starts with a time of STEWING!
This word, “stewing”, is not an original label with me for David’s rant, but it is certainly accurate. “How long?” is a question asked by someone who is stewing over things that are going wrong in his life. You feel forgotten by God; you feel hidden from his presence; you feel sadness everywhere you look; and no one knows what you are going through! You are stewing, and the more you stew, the more desperate you become.
David’s journey from sadness starts in sadness. Maybe the circumstances look anxious. “How long?” is his discomfort going to last? Something has to happen.
The good news is that David begins to make a move. This is what I must do when I am stuck in the mire of anxious sadness.
Psalms 13:3-4 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.
When you are in the valley of sadness, it is time to SEEK God!
It is time to stir the stew; it is time to seek God. I am reminded of the beautiful advice from Jesus Himself.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (KJV Bible)
To seek the kingdom means to follow after all those things which relate to the Kingdom of Christ: Jesus Himself, His church, Soul winning, etc.. To seek His righteousness means to keep right living, even in the midst of our hardships. Never doubt in times of darkness what God has revealed to you in times of the light. Never forget you are a child of God!
Stewing over your dilemma magnifies it. Seeking during the impossible time brings your focus on Christ and His plan of salvation. Stewing becomes stirring; the impossible is brought before the One who can make all things possible.
David cries; the situation may not look any different, but God is there! David pleads, “Give new light to my eyes … turn the lights on so I can see better … Give me a new vision!” When I focus from my problem to my Savior, I am well on my journey to rejoicing!
Psalm 13:5-6 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.(KJV Bible)
The Journey moves from seeking to total surrender. Now David can sing!
The views from the mountain peaks of our lives are quite different than the sights of living it in the valley! Having said that, the valley gives us an opportunity to look back to the mountain top where our strength originated. Of course, I am speaking of Christ and of the salvation which we have received.
David now remembers trust and salvation. His journey from sadness has moved from stewing to seeking. Now, David learns to completely surrender. The more he remembers God’s mercy, the more he realizes all he can do is praise God.
Stewing, seeking, surrendering, and then singing. This is the way we learn a new song during a hard time.
Tommy Dorsey is recognized as the Father of Gospel Music. He had enjoyed a career as a successful Jazz musician until his life began to fall apart. From this brokenness, he gave his life to Jesus Christ and surrendered to a new ministry of Gospel music, where he prospered. His success continued until 1931 when his pregnant wife died in childbirth. Nettie had given birth to a baby boy. That night he dithered between grief for his wife and joy for his new baby. Yet, that same night the message came to him that his child died as well. Dorsey buried both Nettie and his little boy together in the same coffin. Dorsey’s life was in shambles like shattered glass. In his solitude he pondered a return to Jazz. The joy of life and living had disappeared as a vapor. For days he stupored in near depression. Then a friend led him to a piano. As he rested his hands upon the keys, the Holy Spirit moved upon him with these lyrics and a melody.
Precious Lord, take my hand,
Lead me on, let me stand,
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn,
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light,
Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.
With these words Tommy’s heart was healed. He later wrote, "I learned that when we are in our deepest grief, when we feel farthest from God, this is when He is closest, and when we are most open to His restoring power."
(Note: This devotional is not completely original with me. I received thoughts from some other ministers. I make no claim at complete originality. If you like this devotional, you might also check: - How Long, Oh Lord by Guy Caley ; also - When A Long Time Seems Like A Long Time by Rick Gillespie- Mobley)