“How long, LORD? Will you utterly forget me? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I carry sorrow in my soul, grief in my heart day after day? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look upon me, answer me, LORD, my God! Give light to my eyes lest I sleep in death, Let my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed,’ let my foes rejoice at my downfall.
But I trust in your mercy, Grant my heart joy in your salvation, I will sing to the LORD, for he has dealt bountifully with me!” ~ Psalm 13: 2-6 (NABRE)
How often do you feel this way? Every time we look at the news there is yet something else going wrong in this world. Evil seems to surround us. How could God have abaondoned us to this fate? The darkness creeps over you and there doesn’t seem to be any relief. And then you see it… it’s a tiny itty-bitty pin-prick of light. Do you see it? Can you make it out? It’s there. It’s the Light of the World! He is with you. Just hold on a little longer.
That’s what the psalmist is telling us today. Even though everything looks bleak and dark, guess what? He still has faith. How do we know that? He wouldn’t be talking to God if he didn’t. Why would you talk to somebody whom you felt wasn’t there for you? If you had truly given up all hope, this psalm wouldn’t even exist. The book of psalms would have stopped right after #12.
So how do you keep that hope kindled even among all of the bad? Especially when bad news sells way better than good news. Open up any news website and count how many negative headlines there are as compared to positive. Watch the news. How many negative stories do they report on versus positive stories? This is why I no longer watch the news or pay attention to a lot of the media. They aren’t out there for our well being. They aren’t journalists. They are gossip mongers who are just trying to make the most cash. TURN IT OFF. Turn off social media. Turn off the news. Take a break from the negative.
When I am feeling down and I think that the world has gone to the devil without any hope of redemption, I think of John 1: 1-5. I repeat to myself that, “the light shines in the darkness.” Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean that it’s not there. Perhaps it’s hidden under a bushel basket. Perhaps a shade obscures it, but it’s STILL THERE. There are a bazillion stars in the sky and you can’t see every single one, but they are still there. Just as the sky and the number of stars are infinite, so is God’s love for you and He will NEVER desert you. Hold tight to that truth and one day you’ll look up and see that light shining bright; you’ll feel the darkness beginning to dispel and you will feel the warmth. Hold tight to the Truth. He loves you and is always with you.
All your works give you thanks, LORD and your faithful bless you.
They speak of the glory of your reign and tell of your mighty works.
The eyes of all look hopefully to you; you give them their food in due season.
You open wide your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The LORD is just in all his ways, merciful in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth. ~Psalm 145:10-11, 15-18 (NABRE)
Have you ever heard the saying that when God closes a door He opens a window? Another variation is that when He closes one door He opens another. Either way, He loves you and is giving you opportunities even when it seems like you were just denied what you wanted (or thought you wanted).
Think about times in your life when you thought you had been denied what you had been praying for with all of your might. Be objective. Did something else come along that was even better or was what you actually needed at that time? Hindsight is 20/20 and when we’re too close to the issue we can’t see the true blessings.
We ask God to answer our prayers, but if it doesn’t turn out like we thought then we get upset. We get upset if it doesn’t seem like He answered our prayers. In fact, Garth Brooks sang about unanswered prayers. This is a good reminder that just because you think you know what you need doesn’t necessarily mean that it is.
But what does any of this have to do with today’s psalm? It has EVERYTHING to do with it. God is merciful in all his works. He satisfies the desire of every living thing. The Lord is near to all who call upon him. When you think that He’s not being merciful, He actually is. When you don’t think that He’s satisfying your every desire, He really is. When a child claims to be hungry and wants a candy bar, but their parent gives them fruit, the child doesn’t think that their parent is trying to satisfy their desire. God knows what is best for us. Let’s face it, almost all of us would choose a Snickers over an apple. Is that what’s best for us? No. Is that what we desire? Yes. If God were to give us a candy bar every time we desired it then we would end up suffering from health issues further down the road. He is not going to indulge us with our every whim. He will give us what we need.
So this week take a moment to thank the Lord for all of the windows he left open for you; for all the apples he placed on the trees within reach; and for all of the moments when he was near to us when we needed him the most. Remember, God loves you and wants you to be happy. Happiness is a state of mind that we choose. Choose to be happy and thank God for it.