Summary: The thing we have the least patience with is waiting. When we are facing a difficulty we want instant results. When God doesn't operate on our table we get frustrated. David got frustrated too but how he handles it can help us have patience too.
Psalm 13 teaches that waiting is really hard. There is nothing worse than being in a tough space and pleading with God and nothing happens! We saw this in Psalm 10 as well when David cried: “Why do you stand so far away?”
David feels like God must have forgotten him in his trial. Even more, David feels God has purposefully decided not to answer him in that God has hidden His face from him.
It’s like David has prayed and prayed with no answer. He says “will You continually forget Me?” like he’s reminded God of his trouble but receives no answer.
This reminds me of what Jesus said: (Matthew 7:7-9) "Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
We want the door to open like in a supermarket when we approach. God wants persistence in prayer, not because He is deaf or wants us to pray louder or more eloquently or use just the right words or Scriptures—He does it to make us reliant on Him, trust in Him, and let His purposes be accomplished in His timing.
Mary, in John 11:32, complained that the Lord had come too late to save Lazarus. But if Jesus had merely healed him, it wouldn’t have had the same effect as raising him from the dead! Sometimes God has to let us die (or think we are about to die), so to speak, in order to do something really miraculous we wouldn’t have thought of!
Two things seem to be on David’s mind here: the effect of the trial in his mind, and the effect of God not answering on David’s enemies. The trouble he faces is causing anxiety. Have you ever experienced anxiety? It can be felt in the body—shortness of breath, adrenaline, lack of sleep, even tremors. In the mind it becomes a cycle of distressing thoughts that seems to feed on itself. You start worrying about realities that might not even come about. Agony is a good word for the effect on mind and body. The Hebrew word means “affliction.”
The second thing is David’s concern that his enemy was “dominating” him. The word used here means basically “to rise up.” I think the word picture here is of a person rearing themselves up to a higher place above David, thus the idea of domination. Sometimes our troubles fill our lives so completely that it is all we can see and sometimes it even feels like Satan is winning the day and God is nowhere to be found.
If you have ever found yourself in that position you are not alone.
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Here David cries for God to look intently at him and see his plight then answer. Sometimes we are brutally honest with God but we never come to the point of asking Him for anything. This helps us to begin to understand what God wants. The idea of “restore brightness to my eyes” seems to be a strengthening of moral character and having the patience to withstand the trial. Strength to make it through is sometimes the best prayer we can pray!