by Ciel Tagaza
“How long, LORD? Will you utterly forget me? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I carry sorrow in my soul, grief in my heart day after day? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look upon me, answer me, LORD, my God! Give light to my eyes lest I sleep in death, Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed,” lest my foes rejoice at my downfall. But I trust in your mercy. Grant my heart joy in your salvation, I will sing to the LORD, for he has dealt bountifully with me!” – Psalms 13:2-6
How long? We have asked this at some point in our lives. Some of us may even be asking it now. How long will my/our suffering last? How long will the enemy prevail? How long will this darkness cover me/us?
Psalm 13 is an example of a prayer bordering on despair. Filled with questions, it’s a lamentation of someone blinded by hurt, desperation, near-hopelessness, but it’s still a prayer. What makes it a prayer? It is addressed to God, acknowledging His existence and the greatest of His attributes – His mercy.
In confusion, chaos, despair, we can use this Psalm as our prayer. We can question, cry, rant to Him. What matters is we run to Him, not away from Him.
I find myself saying to my friends and to myself when overwhelmed by disturbing news and events, “May awa ang Diyos.” (God is merciful, or God, have mercy!). It is a hope and a prayer and an assurance that the Lord sees.
In Genesis 16, the barren Sarai made her husband Abram sleep with her maidservant Hagar so they could have a child through her, an arrangement not unusual then. But Sarai began to mistreat Hagar after she conceived, so Hagar fled from her mistress. In her misery she must have cried out, thinking no one cared about her. But God spoke to her and heeded her affliction. Hagar addressed Him as El Roi, “God who sees me”. She realized that God had not forgotten her and that He saw her misery.
“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” -Proverbs 15:3
God sees. He sees everything – the good and the evil. He numbers the hairs on our heads, He knows our circumstance. And since we do not always remember the past accurately nor do we always see the present objectively, and we definitely cannot predict what lies ahead, we can only fasten our gaze on the One who sees all these things clearly. He knows where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re headed. When we worship, let us cry out to the God who sees to open our eyes that we may recognize His work, and trust in His mercy that He will make something good out of the direst situation and redeem our suffering.