My mind will not allow me to erase the image of the radiant faces of my oldest daughter and her fourteen year old daughter during their performance of “Hello Dolly” two weekends ago. To them, dancing and singing were already sheer delight and only enhanced by the joy of doing it together. You gush over your kin, too—don’t you?
I imagine, though, that weeks of late night rehearsals, the learning of complex dance routines and songs, and the weeks of performances weren’t always a delight. I know this myself from my younger years of musical group experiences. Parents of young children understand. Hikers on long treks get it, too, along with classroom teachers and faithful workers everywhere.
Psalm 13 reminds us, again, there are enemies to the promise “the joy in the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). One commentator describes this section of the Psalms as “David’s familiar triangle” of God, enemies, and himself.
Who or what are your enemies that pursue you to take away your joy and strength in the Lord?
Linger for a few days on Psalm 13 and it will help:
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
As Scripture is destined to do, it does not leave us in turmoil but offers a path to tranquility.
No doubt, you noticed David is “shaken”—such a subtle word for the turmoil he is going through where “enemies” and “foes” abounded. Consider His prayer as a guide as you talk to God.
Include authentic words about your situation, e.g., “How long. O Lord? Will you forget me forever?” Tell Him you, too, are shaken. Tim Keller, in speaking about confession in prayer, urges us to agree with God not only about our sins but also our circumstances. God longs to hear your honest heart.
Ask the Father to “light my eyes.” Here David asks God to permeate the deepest recesses of his being—to bring a breath of life to his (our) needy, dark situation. Do you remember Paul’s prayer to “enlighten the eyes of our heart” (Ephesians 1:18)?
Recall God’s faithful love and the bountiful expression of His “steadfast love.” Commit yourself again to worship (“rejoice” and “sing”) rather than worry. Finally, fully trust Him with the outcome (v. 5-6).
Taken together, our “eyes” will radiate from deep inside like joyful dancers on a worldwide stage!