I trust in your unfailing love. Psalm 13:5
She was perhaps the greatest “scapecow” in history. We don’t know if her name was Daisy, Madeline, or Gwendolyn (each name has been suggested), but Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was blamed for the 1871 Great Chicago Fire that left every third resident of the city homeless. Carried by strong winds through wooden structures, the fire burned for three days and took the lives of nearly three hundred people.
For years, many believed the fire began when the cow knocked over a lantern left burning in a shed. After further investigation—126 years later—the city’s Committee on Police and Fire passed a resolution exonerating the cow and her owners and suggesting the activities of a neighbor warranted scrutiny.
Justice often takes time, and Scripture acknowledges how difficult that can be. The refrain, “How long?” is repeated four times in Psalm 13: “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (vv. 1–2). But in the middle of his lament, David finds reason for faith and hope: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (v. 5).
Even when justice is delayed, God’s love will never fail us. We can trust and rest in Him not just for the moment but for eternity.
In what ways has God shown you His unfailing love? How will you demonstrate trust in Him today?
Loving God, help me to trust You even when I can’t see what You’re doing. I’m thankful I can rest in Your goodness and faithfulness today.
Watch “What Is Justice?” at go.odb.org/WhatIsJustice.
The lament psalm is a prominent type in the Hebrew psalter. In such a psalm, the singer pours out the pain of his heart to God with a candor that’s sometimes alarming. Psalm 13 is a perfect example of a lament, as it carries what Old Testament scholar Dr. David Lamb says are its five basic components. First is the invocation, where the singer addresses God Himself (v. 1, “Lord”). This is followed by the complaint (vv. 1–2, “How long?”), then the request for help (vv. 3–4, “Look on me and answer”). All these components would be expected in a lament, but a proper lament psalm contains two more vital elements—a declaration of trust (v. 5, “I trust in your unfailing love”) that’s resolved in a call to worship (v. 6, “I will sing”). Lament drives us to trust in God and anticipates a time when the sting of pain is replaced with praise.