“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” Psalm 13:5
There are moments in our lives when it is quite easy to trust God.
When the air conditioner cools us in summer and the fireplace warms our toes in winter.
When we hear children laughing as they splash in a swimming pool.
When there’s money in the bank account and our refrigerators are full.
When the kids are adjusted well in school, family vacations are regular, and cars are in good shape.
Trusting God when life is easy, comfortable, and stable does not require very big faith muscles. But what happens to our trust in God when life throws us curve balls? How does our faith fare, when suffering meets us as we open our eyes in the morning, stays with us as our constant companion, and follows us to bed at night?
As I continued into my daily reflection on God’s love, Psalm 13 caught my eye. Psalm 13 is a powerful lament where David moves from despair to declaration of hope in God’s unfailing love. This lament matches the cries I have often cried as I have dealt with suffering, and it encourages me to trust in God’s love even if God seems hidden at times.
Psalm 13 opens with David asking if God has forgotten him. David asks, “How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?” David continues, “Look on me and answer, Lord, my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death.”
David’s words indicate a man in despair. He feels that if God does not move toward him, he will die. He feels God has hidden himself from him. Have you ever felt like that? To be honest, I have. I always tell Chad I hope no one sees my computer if I die. There, you would read my laments that sound strikingly close to David’s. At times, I too have felt forgotten by God, hidden from God, and weary from wrestling through my questions and sorrows.
In David’s lament, suddenly we see the word but. The power of choice is in that one tiny word where David moved from his lament and chose to hope, “But I trust in your unfailing love.” The key to David’s change of heart was his decision to place his trust squarely in God’s unfailing love. Even with the hits, even with the struggles and questions, David chose to trust in God’s love that would not and could not fail him. His trust in God’s love caused him to move from despair to hope. We don’t see that his circumstances changed, but we do see his focus changed.
What raw emotions we see from David in verses 1-4! What powerful trust we witness as he chooses to trust in God’s love. David found his identity as a loved son of the Most High God. It was from that truth, David could look up and lean into God’s goodness.
Over the past few days, I recorded some of my laments. Did you know our laments can drive us to God or away from God? The key to the way we turn is if we can activate our own proclamation of the word but. I do not believe God wants a fake faith where we pretend everything is okay simply because we can say a Christian cliché.
Some of the questions I have had over the past weeks and years could NOT be answered or solved with a cliché. The pains and struggles and things I have seen in ministry are too deep and raw. God wants to hear us process. I think God is so personal that he might even shed a tear as he sees us walk through pain that drives us to questions without definitive answers this side of heaven.
And I think he rejoices when we choose to crawl into His lap as His daughter and son and say, “Even though… I know your love is unfailing.”
My sister and brother, God’s love for you is unfailing. Rest in that.