psalm xiii – emotional sincerity

For whatever reason, it can be hard to be sincere with God. If you are angry with Him or feel He is letting you down, the temptation is to squash those feelings down. They’re evil thoughts, after all. What right do you have to demand anything? I can understand that.

Yet that is not David’s way. He takes his emotions to God, raw and unfiltered as they are. He feels forgotten, expended, anxious and trapped. He is sincere with God. He does not try to manage those emotions before he prays. He recognises that God is the source of all healing, even the healing of the disappointment he feels towards God Himself.

This emotional sincerity is deceptively difficult, even in private prayer. Often we can be afraid to feel unsatisfied, as if we’re accusing God of wrongdoing, and shove it down by force of will. We pray for what we’re supposed to if we were a good Christian. Yet God is the healer of that unsatisfaction, not you, and it’s Him you need to take it to. Don’t be afraid to pray badly boldly, because God is your forgiving Father and not a harsh teacher grading you on your prayer.

And note that this does something. It frees you to trust. When you lock up your emotion away from God, you deny that He is trustworthy enough to handle it. When you give Him all, you have nothing left to hide, and can recognise His ability and your inability so much clearer.

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long will I store up anxious concerns within me,
agony in my mind every day?
How long will my enemy dominate me?

Consider me and answer, Lord my God.
Restore brightness to my eyes;
otherwise, I will sleep in death.
My enemy will say, “I have triumphed over him,”
and my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your faithful love;
my heart will rejoice in your deliverance.
I will sing to the Lord
because he has treated me generously.

psalm xiii (csb)

<— psalm xii psalm xiv —>