The psalm is only six short verses in length. But the distance the song travels, from the first line to the last, is huge.
How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? . . . I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.
(Psalm 13:1a, 6 ESV)
How long? How long? How long? And for a fourth time, heavy sigh, how long? That’s how the song starts. Seems like a song fit for a pandemic.
A lament. A question repeated again and again. Lyrics sung in a minor key. Feelings of despair put to parchment amidst an unchanging forecast — rain yesterday, rain today, and, for the foreseeable future, more rain.
And yet by the time the songwriter pens these 109 words, scribes these mere 436 characters, he’s singing not the blues but of God’s bounty. What starts as “rue another day” ends with “my heart shall rejoice” (13:5b).
So, what’s happened? What’s changed? What did God do so that how long, O LORD becomes how great is our God?
Well, nothing in one sense. Yet, everything in another.
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.
(Psalm 13:5-6 ESV)
But I have trusted in Your steadfast love. That’s what I’m chewing on this morning.
The how longs of the season have not changed, but the how high of the Savior has come again to remembrance. The enemy persists, but the Deliverer is preeminent. The sorrow is still experienced, but God’s steadfast love is greater than the sorrow. The helplessness of what is yet to pass not worth comparing to the hope of what is yet to come (Rom. 8:18). All because of God’s steadfast love.
Steadfast love. Unfailing love (NIV). Faithful love (CSB). God’s unlimited, unchanging, unbounded love never ceasing (Lam. 3:22). And in that love, asserts the songwriter amidst his how longs, he will trust.
Songs of rejoicing come not always because of an immediate change of circumstance, but sometimes simply through a declared confidence in the person and purposes of the Creator and the assurance of eventual rescue. Lament gives way, if only temporarily, when the LORD’s steadfast love is remembered and rested upon. Bringing a confidence that though weeping may last for the night, joy’s gonna come in the morning (Ps. 30:5).
I have trusted in Your steadfast love . . .
That’s what can transport us from singing the blues to singing songs of His bounty.
Only by His grace. Only for His glory.