Psalm 13 – A Psalm of David
David understood what it looked like to wrestle with God. He understood sleepless nights, bouts with anxiety, and immense sorrow. In fact, the life of David looked like one marked regularly by suffering, some of which was caused by his own actions, some of which was not. This suffering can be seen in the life of King David as recorded in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, but it is in the Psalms that we see the heart of David, which, even in the midst of suffering, is ultimately said to be like God’s (Acts 22).
Psalm 13 records David in the throws of anguish and turmoil, asking God repeatedly, “How long?”
1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
This is the type of wrestling that God delights in, and I think many of us know it well. But it is what follows that I believe qualified David to be called a man after God’s own heart. As he pens his account of crushing sorrow, David chooses to recall the goodness of God, and resolves to love his God and trust him forever. And he does this over and over again in his psalms, pleading with God to help, crying out in confusion, frustration, and anger, and then resolving to love God and trust in his ways.
As we wrestle with God, never forget he is worthy of our love and adoration, even when we hurt. Remember that this world is broken, and God does not delight in that. Remember that he created the earth and the humans therein to be in good and intimate relationship with him, unseparated from him by sin and pain and sickness and death. Remember that he is trustworthy and that his word is true. Remember that he proved that by sending Jesus to reunite us with God by paying the debt that we owed and the penalty for our sin. Remember that even when you know these things with your head but can’t seem to believe them with your heart, he is worthy of our worship. And remember that worship can look like tears and pain, confusion and depression, questioning and sorrow, a wrestling match, as long as we are in the arms of our God and trusting in him above ourselves.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.