Proper 8 / June 29, 2014
Psalm 13 casts a prayerful scenario that is likely familiar to everybody at some time in their life. The writer of this prayer/song is complaining that God is playing “peek-a-boo” with him and he is plenty tired of it. He is ready for God to quit playing games and get back to making his life easy or at least easier. The complaint is that God has forgotten him, has stopped answering prayers, has seemingly withdrawn completely, and left him captive with these thoughts. If God doesn’t hurry up and respond then not only will his personal enemies win, but he in fact is likely to die (v.3).
We too have wondered why faith/life is often this way. Why do we sometimes feel distant from God or why do we sometimes think that God has forgotten all about us? It is probably because we are so focused on “me” that we assume “He” is too. We know that God is focused on us, but His focus is broader than the personal comforts and pleasantries that we feel should come with a membership in the church. God is focused on saving the world – we are focused on saving ourselves. God is focused on healing the sick, feeding the hungry, helping widows and orphans – we honed in our “a pain free, 3 square meals a day, don’t label me experience.” God is building the church for service to the world – we are building our wealth to give us happiness, security, and opportunity.
The Psalmist gains clarity by falling back into trust in God to do and be everything in his life. As he trusts in God he gets a clearer vision of full salvation provided by God and regains perspective about the loneliness, anxiety, and fear that has gripped him. All of these feelings are real and very much a part of being human, but they should not define how we life out our faith in God. For He is bigger than the “boogie man and the monsters on TV” and He is bigger than the emotions that tear at our faith causing us to doubt or accuse our saving God.
Trust is our pivot point from accusing God of things He hasn’t done. This trust compels the writer to sing a song to the Lord that is a declaration of God’s goodness – not God’s deliverance, power, or even availability. He is trusting in the goodness of God in a dark hour in His life for only this good God would care enough to come into the personal conflict swirling around and inside his heart. It is in the goodness of God that we lovingly and faithfully sing “in God we trust.”
He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent. (Augustine)