David prays a very honest prayer in Psalm 13. He asks God “how long” four times. I’m not sure David is looking for answers from God as much as he is expressing his distress. He is frustrated and at a loss as to why his victory is taking so long. This prayer may sound rude to our ears. Can we really ask God brutally honest questions?
The Path of Joy Begins at the Gate of Honesty
We can be brutally honest in prayer because God knows about it anyway. Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. The point of prayer is not to impress God but to have a relationship with Him. Prayer is communication and must be honest. Transparency is the foundation of any relationship, including our relationship with God. We must identify a problem before it can be solved. David puts words to his emotions. It is a difficult time for him, and he lets God know.
How could David’s honesty move him to joy? Happiness results from our circumstances, but joy is the inner state of contentment as we trust in God’s goodness and grace. We are not to deny grief or sorrow in our difficult circumstances but to turn our focus from them to God and His purpose. When David began his prayer, he was focused on his problems, and only by telling God can his focus begin to change. He must be honest with God to deal with the situation. God’s shoulders are big enough to handle David’s emotions.
Simultaneous Joy and Sorrow
Joy and sorrow can co-exist. Paul experienced this and told the Corinthians about the situation. He had just shared a list of his hardships and concluded with this: 2 Corinthians 6: 10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. David had experienced much the same thing.
Psalm 13 gives us a model of moving from agony to hope and joy in the Lord. We will experience grief and sorrow in this life. We can be truthful with God and share our emotions and confusion during these times. Remember, He knows what we are thinking, so we may as well be honest. Our candid prayers allow God to tackle the situation. Realize the problem may not change to our liking, but God promises to be with us. He will be our source of strength and hope, which can give us joy amid sorrow.
To learn more about honest prayer, listen here: