Past, Future, Present

Past, Future, Present

How many of us have these moments where we cry out with the Psalmist, “How long, O Lord?” Psalm 13 is attributed to David. In this context, the man after God’s own heart is feeling a holy distance. There is sorrow in his song. Following a few days of tears in my own life, I was met with empathy when I opened the scriptures this morning. David’s words became my words and gave me something to say. More importantly, his process gave me useful tools to hold onto.

Following his questions to the Lord, he boldly states his request: “Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death.” David gives us none of this “if it be your will” rhetoric. He is asking for enlightenment. He is asking for answers. I like how he says, “enlighten my eyes.” What an interesting phrase. I take it to mean, “I want to see it!” or “I desperately need perspective.”

Something happens in David at this point. Using my musical imagination, I hear an increasing crescendo with a dramatic rest at the start of verse 5. If I were to notate it as a composer, I would give it a whole rest (maybe two) right after the word “but” and then begin a soft decrescendo until the end. Listen to it.

“But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.”

I bolded the words that hit me. David looks behind him to the past, he looks before him to the future and chooses a present course of action. He is reminded of his past trust in the Lord’s goodness and mercy. Looking to the future, he believes out loud that rejoicing will come again. So in the present, he sings.

Maybe it’s the mid-life thing, but there are days where I find myself wondering if the young Karis was better than the future Karis? Are the “glory days” behind me and if so, what is before me? When these depressing, introspective thoughts surface, I am thankful for David’s model of hopeful belief in the future salvation. He shifts his gaze from his sorrow to God’s big plan. “Look up!” Rescue is still to come. Time to sing.

What will my song be today? What is yours?

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