Praise Wins Every Time

Psalm 13:1-2, 5-6 “How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? . . . But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; my heart will rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD because He has dealt bountifully with me.”

Observation: In the space of these six verses, David went from despair to praise. David felt sure he had been forgotten and was unable to find God anywhere in his circumstances, though he had tried. His heart was heavy with grief and he felt utterly defeated by his enemies.

But then he recalled the fact that he knew what it is to have trusted in the love of God, and his heart was renewed with joy over his salvation. The psalm ends with David’s singing to the Lord.

Application: For as long as I can remember, this brief psalm has been one I could readily relate to. Countless times as I would read this in the context of trying to cope with one or another of life’s challenges, I would find myself mired in the same mud as David. Filled with defeat and self-pity, I was convinced that God was nowhere to be found.

But David’s example was always a reminder not just of God’s goodness, but also of many of His other great attributes. Unfailingly, when I purposefully take my eyes off my circumstances and let them dwell instead on my awesome God, when I would consciously remind myself how much He loves me, then I can praise Him and thus be equipped to go forward in His peace and joy.

This has happened often enough over the years that it has become much more automatic. Many times now I am able to bypass the despair stage and go straight to praise.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for this reminder of where I need to keep my eyes and of the reality that because of Your lovingkindness, no discouragement or apparent defeat can ultimately rule my life or govern my heart.

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