praise at sunrise

Advising anyone to just follow their heart is probably the worst advice ever! Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV) says that, “the human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Wow.

Psalm 13 addresses this issue as well. In verses 1-4 David writes, “How long, Oh Lord, will you forget me? 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? Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.”

David felt like God had abandoned him and that if God did not rescue him soon, he would just die and his enemies would dance on his grave. David was probably just depressed. I don’t know that I have ever been THAT depressed, but who hasn’t wondered where is God when you’re deeply troubled, and God just isn’t answering your prayers?

woman waling alone

Sometimes, God is silent. You don’t sense His presence. You read your Bible and nothing touches your heart or seems applicable to what your feeling.
It is verses 5 and 6 that take this Psalm in a whole new direction. Here’s the come back.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praises for he has been good to me.”

Psalm 13:5-6


David may have felt like God had abandoned him or was ignoring him, but he knew better. Notice that I wrote that David may have FELT like God had abandoned him. David did not follow his heart or give in to his emotions. He trusted in God’s unfailing love. He trusted. He believed. He did not doubt or question. He trusted in God’s unfailing love.

Even in the midst of his discouragement, he found joy. He said his heart would rejoice in the truth of his salvation. He moved past his emotions and reminded himself of all the times the Lord had been good to him.

This is what I have learned from this verse. Faith is not what I feel, faith is what I know. No matter how I feel, I know my God is good, and this:

“Faith is the persistent and insistent belief in the goodness of God, despite what circumstances I might find myself in.”

In our world today, we give too much authority to our emotions. We allow feelings to trump truth, facts and even science.

If you look closely at all of Jesus miracles, all the times and ways that he healed people, he never responded to mere emotions. He did not heal anyone of low self esteem or feelings of worthlessness. He healed real diseases. That may have improved someone’s mood considerably, but he did not heal people of emotional issues.

I am not referring to mental and emotional illness, nor am I taking aim at clinical depression. I am talking about allowing our emotions to direct our actions, and our thoughts, when emotions are fleeting and unreliable.

David had some good advice for us in this Psalm. He reminded himself of all of God’s goodness and faithfulness to him in the past. You may not feel like making a list of all the ways God has blessed you when you’re feeling down and out, so maybe get a head start on that.

Get yourself a little note book and start keeping track of all the ways God comes through for you. Yeah, count your blessings. Every time God moves in your life, or someone else’s, and you are amazed again at His faithfulness, write it down.
The next time you feel like God has turned away from you, get out your blessing book and I bet you come to the same conclusion I have.

Faith is not what I feel. Faith is what I know.

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