From Despair to Delight

Psalm 13 is a very brief psalm that contains a large shift in attitude. David begins by asking God some questions that come out of despair: How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul,  Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? These words come out of a time in David’s life when he is near “rock bottom”. I don’t think we know for sure but these words could have been written when he was running for his life from king Saul or perhaps when his son Absalom led a coup to take over the kingdom of Israel. David asks questions that we all have asked at some point. “Where are you God?’ “Why are you hiding from me?” I think we’ve all been there to some extent, in the midst of despair over God’s seeming inactivity toward us or toward those we love.

This is how the psalm ends, as David goes from despair to delight:   But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. 6  I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me. There doesn’t appear to be any change in David’s actual circumstances but his attitude has shifted. He declares that he will trust in God’s mercy and rejoice in God’s salvation. David’s pity party turns into a celebration of praise. Pity parties happen to all of us from time to time. It’s very easy to despair. But don’t stay in the pity party too long. Redirect your thoughts to the character and nature of God. Redirect your thoughts to the promises of God. You won’t be disappointed. Rather, your attitude can be changed. If you are in a pity party right now, consider leaving that party for a praise party…the food is better there!


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