Worshiping with Questions

I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. Psalm 13:5

It’s not uncommon during a long (or short!) trip for someone in a group of travelers to ask, “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer?” Who hasn’t heard these universal queries coming from the lips of children and adults eager to arrive at their destination? But people of all ages are also prone to ask similar questions when wearied because of life challenges that never seem to cease.

Such was the case with David in Psalm 13. Four times in two verses (vv. 1–2), David—who felt forgotten, forsaken, and defeated—lamented “How long?” In verse two, he asks, “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts?” Psalms that include lament, like this one, implicitly give us permission to worshipfully come to the Lord with questions of our own. After all, what better person to talk to during prolonged times of stress and strain than God? We can bring our struggles with illness, grief, the waywardness of a loved one, and relational difficulties to Him. 

Worship need not stop when we have questions. The sovereign God of heaven welcomes us to bring our worry-filled questions to Him. And perhaps, like David, in due time our questions will be transformed into petitions and expressions of trust and praise to the Lord (vv. 3–6). 

Lord, thank You that I don’t have to stop worshiping when I have questions; I can worship You with my questions.

Bring your questions to God

INSIGHT

A lament psalm typically contains five elements: invocation, lament, request, trust, and praise. We see all five in Psalm 13. First is the invocation, in which an appeal for help is made to an authority: “How long, Lord?” (v. 1). Next is the lament, which takes the form of David’s bitter questions (vv. 1–2). Soon he pivots to his request, as he demands an answer from God: “Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death” (v. 3). The poet then circles back to trust (v. 5), which naturally leads to his anticipation of future praise (v. 6). We don’t know the details of David’s desperate straits, but that uncertainty only enhances this psalm’s universal accessibility. Everyone understands what it is to be desperate. Not everyone understands where to turn for genuine help. David shows us what it looks like to find hope where there seems to be none.

Tim Gustafson

By |2019-01-17T09:39:54-04:00January 18th, 2019|