Today, as restrictions in many parts of the world are slowly being lifted, we leave the heaviness of Lamentations for Psalms of lament, most of which, unlike Lamentations, also include words of praise. Psalms of lament [think darkness and disorientation] may be seen by some as admissions of failure, a lack of faith in the Lord. However, to the believing community who prays them, they are prayers of bold faith because the cause of the lament has changed the pray-er’s images of God and the meaning of faith, resulting in more real and honest prayers. As you pray these ‘dark’ psalms, let the psalmists’ vulnerable words and bold faith teach you how to pray in a more faithful, realistic and honest manner.
Prepare to Listen. Light your candle of hope for the world. Sit still in its light and be assured of God’s presence.
Prayerfully Read Psalm 13
1 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me for ever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O LORD my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
4 and my enemy will say, ‘I have prevailed’; my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
5 But I 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 has become one of my favorite psalms of lament. It’s brief and it’s honest. It gave me courage to pour out my honest feelings and thoughts to God, even accusing God of forgetting all about me, as it so often feels. I invite you pray this psalm with me today.
How long, O LORD?
We’ve had enough of this virus;
too many people worldwide are getting infected
and too many are dying.
Will you forget us forever?
It sure feels like you have forgotten us
left us to find our own way to survive,
when we desire to thrive.
How long shall our enemy, Coronavirus, be exalted over us?
It’s been nearly five months and we’re still waiting,
It continues relentless in its global journey, bragging,
‘I have prevailed.’
Consider and answer us, O Lord.
You are our God, the only God we know
the only God who can give light to our weary eyes
sustain our failing spirits.
We have trusted in your steadfast love.
We long to joyfully sing out loud
that you have dealt bountifully with us
until then, we’ll keep trusting.
Despite the lament, despite unchanged circumstances, the poet still trusts God to deal bountifully with her. What are you learning from these laments?
Respond to Jesus
With the psalmist, we pray, How long, O Lord? Consider and answer me, O Lord because I have trusted in you and long to sing joyfully of you again. Amen.