A Lesson in Patience

If events of the last several years have you frustrated with society, angry at rampant immorality, concerned for your children and grandchildren, and wondering what will happen to the church, you are not alone. When the world lies in the midst of seemingly constant moral decline at an ever increasing rate, when people all around seem oblivious to the destruction their decisions have on their own future, and when postmodern relativism has replaced any sense of absolute truth in the minds of most people, it is no wonder that those who still turn to God and the truth of scripture as their absolute guide in life would feel bewildered and alone, living in a world that seems far removed from the one they knew only a short time ago. The reality of war and the constant threat of attack has worn people down emotionally so much that many have given up hope entirely. They just want the LORD to ease the burden of life.

David must have felt this way numerous times throughout his life. He lived through specific threats on his life, multiple battles, military coups, and internal political struggles. So when he wrote Psalm 13, likely toward the latter portion of his reign, his words of weariness come from a heavy heart with which we should be able to identify easily. “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psa. 13:1-2). You can almost feel the desperation in his words. He feels not only neglected but forsaken and defeated—personally. However, rather than allowing circumstances to rule his heart, he cries out to his Maker, “Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed against him’; Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved” (Psa. 13:3-4). Having turned to Almighty God, he sees something bigger than himself and a cause greater than his own. He does not understand his difficulties; he feels the weight of his struggles. But rather than give in to the world’s pressure, he finds resilience and hope once more in the Lord: “But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me” (Psa. 13:5-6). If the past has taught us anything, it is that the Lord takes care of his people; He blesses and blesses again. David realized this, and it helped him remain patient in the midst of turmoil and tribulation.

I wish I could tell you that the world will soon turn back to quieter times. It would be nice to have assurance of the return of peace and prosperity, and nicer still to live to see a renewed appreciation for truth and a return to greater morality. However, while these things may indeed come to pass, we do not know how long we may have to wait. Therefore, rather than worry and complain, like David our task is to persevere patiently, having confidence in the Lord’s care and hope in His promises. It is hard to teach the gospel in a world set on sin. But whether anyone else will take lessons from God’s Word to heart, we can still take the time and opportunity to learn patience.

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