The Psalms make clear that the life of the true believer is inevitably full of conflict, adversity, trouble, danger, and sorrow. The Psalms show us that, for the true believer, life is difficult, indeed, life is a fight. There are external enemies in this fallen world who hate God and His people; our own sinful natures that still reside in us, inclining us to disbelieve and disobey God’s Word; and Satan and his demonic minions who tempt us to sin, pester us with worldly distractions, accuse our consciences, and mock us for our feeble faith. Read the Psalms, and you will see that not all of them are beautiful words of comfort such as Psalm 23 or songs of praise such as Psalm 100. There are many psalms that are expressions of agony, doubt, and fear in the face of spiritual warfare.
Psalm 13 is a good example. How many of us, in one way or another, at one time or another, have felt like crying out with the words of Psalm 13, “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?” (Ps. 13:1)? This is one of those prayers—a lament —that, at first, we might be hesitant to pray. We might think that it sounds irreverent or even borderline blasphemous. Since God has said in His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us, it might seem as though we were accusing God of breaking His Word. Should we really cry out to God, “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?”
Yes. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God has given us Psalm 13 so that we can be assured that God accepts the honest outpourings of our souls. Most of us, if we live long enough, at some time or in some season, will feel so overwhelmed by adversity or grief that we will simply want to fall face down and cry out, “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?” At such a time, Psalm 13 can serve as your personal prayer.
Those circumstances might involve prolonged suffering or hardship; chronic illness or physical pain; caring for a loved one who suffers physically or mentally; a continuing problem that just won’t go away or cannot get resolved; a series of circumstantial hardships, trouble upon trouble disturbing your life; or an injustice, a wrong done to you by a malicious person that has continuing negative consequences in your life; or the replaying of those “old tapes” from long ago—hurts, regrets, failures—that just keeping on playing and playing in your mind. In any of these cases, we might cry out: “Why do I have to keep dealing with this and going through this? Why doesn’t God deliver me from this?”