Despair creates a feeling of hopelessness. This affects our life and the lives of others. God seems distant. The joy of our walk with God has disappeared. Guilt permeates our life. We are confused. We don’t know what to do.
David, the Psalmist, was filled with despair. He had fought the enemies of God’s people. He was also fleeing from King Saul. God seemed very distant to David. He was weary. What was David to do?
Psalm 13 shows us how to move from despair to delight. David starts out the Psalm in great despair. He ends this Psalm with great delight in God. What changed in David’s life. What must change in our lives to go from despair to delight in God?
BE OPEN WITH GOD: THE FIRST STEP OF MOVING FROM DESPAIR TO DELIGHT
David shares his feelings with God in total honesty. God wants us to be open with Him. We think we can hide our feelings from God, but He knows all about us. When we are open with God, it enables God to begin his work in our lives. Here are some ways that we can pour our heart out before God.
1. I am impatient with God “How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever?” (Psalm 13:1) We wonder when is this all going to end? We silently say to ourselves: “Why isn’t God answering my prayer?” We soon develop a spirit of complaining. We hang on to our faith, but we are becoming weary of waiting.
2. I feel deserted by God. “How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?”(Psalm 13:1b) God’s face doesn’t shine upon us as it once did. It seems like a dark cloud has come between God and us. This dark cloud can be caused by our sins, our circumstances, or our doubts.
3. I am confused. “How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily?” (Psalm 13:2a) We don’t know what to do? There are no answers in ourselves. We don’t know where to go for help? God’s Word doesn’t seem to help in giving us direction in our lives.
4. I am defeated. “How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:2 ) We quit living our lives with joy. We are going through the motions. We feel as though we have been kicked to the ground. We can’t get up. We just want to quit.
BE FOCUSED UPON GOD: THE SECOND STEP OF MOVING FROM DESPAIR TO DELIGHT.
Despair has overtaken David’s life; yet he remembers that God is alive. He hears our cry. God has the only answer to his despair. After pouring out his heart to God, he makes his plea unto God. David remembers certain truths about God in his prayer that enable him to move from despair to delight.
1.God remembers me. “Consider and hear me, O LORD my God.” (Psalm 13:3) When we pray unto God, we face the reality that God hasn’t forgotten about us. We are His children. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Even the worst of circumstances can’t separate us from the love of God.
2. God hears me. Prayer not only acknowledges that God remembers us, but we also know that He hears us. God is always available to hear our cries unto Him. He hears even the most silent cry from our heart.
3. God enlightens me. “Lighten mine eyes.” (Psalm 13:3b) We despair because we stop seeing life from God’s perspective. We start to view life from our perspective. We don’t see the big picture. We allow our circumstances to affect our view of God, instead of allowing God to affect our view of circumstances. When God is in the picture, we view everything from a different perspective. (See Psalm 13:4)
BE FULL OF PRAISE UNTO GOD: THE THIRD STEP OF MOVING FROM DESPAIR TO DELIGHT.
David’s circumstances haven’t changed, but he has changed. He has moved from despair to delighting in God. We long for God to change our circumstances, but God’s goal is to change us. David expresses his delight in three ways.
1. I trust in God’s loving-kindness. “But I have trusted in thy mercy;” (13:5a) David’s faith is renewed in God’s love towards him. We often speak of the love of God, but forget to live in accordance to His love. When we climb out of the depths of despair, we see the sunshine of His love again. We delight in all that He is. Our despair dissipates in the warmth of His love.
2. I rejoice in my salvation. “My heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.” (13:5b) When we move from despair to delight, our hearts are open to the joy of the Lord. We realize that our salvation not only gives us forgiveness and eternal life, but we also are a child of God. Our Father is always ready to carry our burdens and hold us in His arms.
3. I give thanks unto the Lord. “I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” (13:6) David’s song is one of thanksgiving unto the Lord. When we delight in the Lord, we recognize the many blessings that we receive. We agree with the song writer who says: “Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”
David’s despair turned to delight when he turned his eyes upon the Lord. Yes, the Lord seemed distant and uncaring to David; however, David demonstrated faith in reaching out to God even when God seemed beyond his reach. Our despair can also become delight when we reach out to our Heavenly Father who cares for us.