Reading through the Bible together
What a roller coaster of emotions Psalm 13 expresses! Somehow the singer moves from despair to trust. I’m not sure how that works in terms of the writer/singer’s emotional state—do they “feel” better at the end of the psalm? But there is an assent that in spite of what seems like God’s absence, God’s love is the basic thing to be counted on.
To get an idea for how this can happen, look at how the psalm ends. “I will sing to the Lord for He has been good to me.” More and more research shows that expressing gratitude, counting blessings, the practice of being thankful have a real effect on one’s emotional state.
When my brother went through a period of negativity recently, we were very worried about him. But he came through it by disciplining himself to count and name and express gratitude for all the goodness in his life. When we practice looking for where God has been good, it is harder to feel, deep in our bones, that He has been absent. Perhaps, as this psalm indicates, God answers us through our own exercise of thankfulness.
Lisa Clark Diller
Chair, Dept. of History and Political Studies
Southern Adventist University