Psalm 13: Feeling Forgotten

This short Bible study offers wisdom from Psalm 13 helping us deal with sorrow and difficulty.

As an introduction to this Bible study, please read the 1-minute devotion Feeling Forgotten. It explains how Psalm 13 can help us deal with sadness in our own lives. 

1. Psalm 13 gives us a realistic view of human sorrow.

 If you've ever "wrestled" with God in prayer, this Psalm will make sense to you. The psalmist feels forgotten, invisible to God. But he brings himself back to reality by reminding himself of God's character. The Psalms frequently offer this "formula" for overcoming despair. And it works. 

Verse 6 explains the natural outcome of refocusing our hearts and minds on the Lord. 

Psalm 13  "How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 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? 3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, 4 and my enemy will say, 'I have overcome him,' and my foes will rejoice when I fall. 5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6 I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me."

Our thoughts influence our actions and attitudes. The psalmist knows this, so he climbs out of his pit of despair by reminding himself of God's love and power. We find this change of perspective emphasized in the New Testament as well. 
Philippians 4:8-9 tells us that focusing on good things helps us experience the peace of God. And no matter what is wrong in our lives, we can focus on the goodness of the Lord.

2. Because of our faith, difficulties in life are never wasted.

We are shielded by God's power, but this doesn't mean we won't suffer "all kinds of trials" here on earth. But our trials are never in vain. They refine our faith when we do as the psalmist and focus on the goodness of God instead of our circumstances. And the inexpressible joy of knowing Jesus for eternity is more than enough to overcome the sorrow and pain of our temporary difficulties on earth. 

1 Peter 1:3-9: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls."  

Our Lord suffered for us, and that gives us courage in our suffering.

1 Peter 4:12-13:  "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." 

And our Lord also warned us we would suffer here on earth, but our suffering will end when this earthly life is over. And our life in heaven will be pure paradise!

John 16:33: "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

copyright 2014, Gail Burton Purath,, edited and updated in 2021

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