In 2014, psychologists from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville conducted an experiment with undergraduate students. They put each student in a room with no distractions. Then they told them that, if they wanted to, they could push a button and shock themselves. The results were shocking! Sixty-seven percent of the men and 25 percent of the women shocked themselves rather than sit quietly.
Many people feel it is hard to be alone and even harder to be abandoned. David began this lament asking four times, “How long?” David wanted reassurance that God still cared. He wanted to see God act in his defense. He was surrounded by enemies who wanted nothing better than to gloat over his demise and David felt abandoned by God.
When we feel abandoned, we might think that God does not want to help us. We may begin to doubt the existence of God altogether. David did not go down either of these roads. Instead, he waited. It was a waiting filled with questions and pleas, but waiting nonetheless. By waiting, we can be faithful to God even in the midst of sorrow (v. 2).
But David also waited in hope. He trusted in God’s covenant commitment to him and anticipated God’s salvation (v. 5). He remembered what God had done for him in the past (v. 6). It is possible to be full of grief and hope at the same time. The Apostle Paul reminded the church at Thessalonica, “We do not want you to be uninformed . . . so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13). David here reminds us that God is worth clinging to even when we do not experience His presence at the moment.
Perhaps you are walking through a time of anxiety or trouble. David would encourage us to voice our concern to God directly and honestly. Remember that even our Lord cried the words of a lament Psalm, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). Remember when God has met your needs, and trust that He still cares for you.