What do you choose in the waiting? Psalm 13

The printed factory recall letter slipped out between two pieces of junk mail. Typically, it can be rather tricky to open the multipage document with perforations along the side. As the owner of an older car, this is not my first notification. I slipped it open and read the fine print indicating the need to take my car to the local dealership for a much-needed replacement part. After making an online appointment about a week in advance, I was frustrated to deal with a day of waiting.

I will spare you the play-by-play, but after keeping my car all day, I was told the part needed will not arrive until next week. I seem to have accomplished nothing at the end of a long day of waiting. I finally brought my unfixed care home. I must now wait to hear when the part comes in, and then we may begin the process again. Sigh.


No one likes waiting.

Does knowing how long you have to wait make the waiting any easier?

In Psalm 13, the Psalmist cries out with the question, how long?

1 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13:1 ESV)

An unknown waiting period feels unbearable.

Have I been forgotten?

Does anyone even know I’m here?

These questions haunt the psalmist.

His despair grows, and he suggests the Lord is hiding from him. In times of deep sadness, I think everyone feels abandoned and alone.

2 How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? (Psalm 13:2 ESV)

A season of prolonged suffering can lead to an echo chamber forming around me. What counsel do I have for myself? Indeed, it is limited. I don’t know what I don’t know.

Sorrow’s grip pulls me into the depth of depression and further limits my perspective.

3 Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. (Psalm 13:3-4 ESV)

Have I been considered?

Have you ever had a text from someone simply checking in on you? It feels fantastic to be considered by someone else. Even if that person cannot fix the problem, or end the suffering, just knowing someone thought about you. This information can ease feelings of isolation.

Falling into a pit of despair can lead me to consider all the worst-case scenarios. A temporary illness triggers the conclusion that I might be dying, or all is lost, or there is no hope for a remedy.

Is this what the psalmist is struggling with?

The psalmist has come to the end of his resources and declares that he is shaken. He’s tired of waiting. What can he do?  

5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13:5-6 ESV)

The final two verses of this psalm reveal an abrupt change in the tone. Why?

The psalmist decides to try a new strategy.

He will choose to trust when it is still dark and uncertain.

This is a brave course of action.

He will choose to trust when he doesn’t see the provision. He will take the next step when he can’t see the path.

He chooses to rejoice before he receives the healing or victory.


In verse 6, he says, because God deals with him bountifully.

I am not sure where you find yourself today, but perhaps you are sitting in a time of struggle or suffering. Or maybe a loved one is. Can you take a step toward trust? Can you sing a song of rejoicing right where you are?


Lord, help me trust in your steadfast love. Fill my heart and mind with songs rejoicing in my salvation. Help me sing to you, Lord, because You have dealt bountifully with me. You will again because it is in Your nature. I will choose to count the bounty and seek to see more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Is there someone in your life who is stuck in the waiting room? Could you reach out today to remind her that she is seen and considered?

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