Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death… –Psalm 13:3
Like King David, we will experience things that make no sense to us. We’ll feel forgotten or forsaken by God. We’ll feel God has abandoned us. There will be moments when we’ll want the right thing, do the right thing, say the right thing, and it will still blow up in our faces and wound us. These experiences are common to all and a normal experience of life in a fallen world.
In Psalm 13, David models for us the right heart posture towards God – namely, honesty and humility. First, David is honest in showing us that sometimes our experiences and perspective will feel like we are on the verge of “sleeping the sleep of death” if God does not intervene immediately. And by sleep the sleep of death (Psalm 13:3), David means he would experience heart crushing grief. It’s what Paul mentioned in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9.
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.II Cor 1:8-9
The Apostle Paul, like David before, despaired life itself. For Paul, death would have brought relief. And King David, in the midst of this trial, knew that any more conflict would have him despairing life itself. I’m not saying David was depressed or suicidal. But if the LORD did not bring relief soon, David wouldsleep the sleep of death – fully hidden from God (v.1), only receiving and leaning on self-counsel (v.2), and with deep anguish and sorrow in his heart (v.2). David was honest with himself and with the LORD God.
Second, David is humble. He seeks the LORD and trusts the LORD (v.5). Verse 3 highlights the three requests he’s seeking from God:
- Consider me – David asks for the opposite of v.1. He wants to know God knows him and is with him in this.
- Answer me – David asks the LORD to do more than notice. “Do something.”
- Light up my eyes – David asks to see things from God’s perspective. He wants alignment with God.
David’s humility shines all through Psalm 13 but shines brightest in this last request of v.3: Light up my eyes. In other words, “I don’t pretend to see it all clearly and know all you’re doing. LORD, give me wisdom and understanding. Let me see this suffering from your perspective. Help me remember you’re working all things together for God. You’re always good and you do all things well. I believe, but please help my unbelief.”
Church family, I do know some of you are in the midst of incredible trials and doubt has crept into some hearts. I beg you to humbly pray the LORD wouldlight up your eyes regarding your circumstances. While we do desire relief in the suffering, please do not assume you’re seeing it all clearly or that relief is what is needed most. Rather, pray the LORD would be with you and teach you. Pray you’d have alignment with Him. Pray you’d be able to see and remember that God is always good.
A common prayer for me through the years has been, “Teach me what you intend to teach me. And then bring relief/deliverance.” In other words, I would hate to suffer in vain, missing out on the intended good the LORD has for me. David knew the trial could shake him (v.4). But he also knew his suffering was not pointless. He knew he needed the LORD’s perspective. With honesty and humility, pray.
The gospel of Jesus gives us freedom to boldly approach the throne and receive grace to help in our time of need (cf. Hebrews 4:16). Let’s go to the LORD in confidence that His grace is sufficient, our sin is forgiven, we are not being punished, and that God is forming us into His image. Let’s trust Him (v.5) because He has dealt bountifully with us (v.6).
And let’s pray for one another!