How Long?

How Long?

Excerpts from Chapter 2 of Deserted by God? by Sinclair Ferguson.

Read Psalm 13.

There are sinister elements about discouragement. It is all-pervasive, affecting everything in our lives. Yet at the same time it is a vague generalized feeling that seems to discourage us from probing its roots too deeply lest we find the experience too painful.

Forgetfulness may be accidental: an oversight perhaps. But hiding is not; it is a deliberate act of avoidance. The God to whom David looked as the one of whose life and being he was the mirror image seemed to have turned away from him.

…When God hides his face, we do not know where he is looking or what he is planning.

This was David’s problem: he had lost all sense of what God was doing. He could not see the smile on his face or catch a glimpse of its determined purpose of grace. …Worse even than this, David could not see light at the end of the tunnel. He did not know if there was an end to the tunnel.

Our most painful experiences are like that: sorrows, burdens, disappointments that we will have to carry throughout the rest of our lives. They are irreversible.

Lesser griefs convey a taste of this too: thwarted ambitions; the loss of a job; a broken romance; a difficult situation that cannot be resolved. Each day, sorrow fills our hearts and casts its shadows over everything we do. Will it be like this forever?

In the very act of lamenting that God has deserted him, he is at the beginning of a spiritual breakthrough… For one thing, he is actually talking, face-to-face, to the God whom he accuses of forgetting him and hiding from him! …what David is doing is asking God to give the blessings he has promised; he is urging him to be faithful to his own word, to do what he has said.

What had David been in danger of forgetting?

1. The Lord’s unfailing love brings David to “trust,” confide, and rest in him.

2. The Lord’s salvation makes David’s heart “rejoice.” However great his difficulties are, he possesses something greater than them; however long they last, salvation will outlast them.

3. The Lord’s goodness makes him “sing.” …God’s people struggle to believe that he is good, in the face of what seems to be so much counter-evidence. …he now sees that in all things he works for the good of those who love him…

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