But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13:5–6—NKJV)

David certainly had his share of anxiety throughout his lifetime. Some have suggested that he wrote the words of this psalm while hiding away in caves for fear of King Saul’s vendetta against his life. He was no stranger to fear, being under threat of death. He was a wanted man through no error of his own.

The six verses of the psalm divide handily into three sections: his anxiety expressed with plaintive questions—verses 1 & 2; his humble prayer for God’s attention—verses 3 & 4; and his expressed resolution of soul devotion—verses 5 & 6.

A commonly observed trait of every genuine believer is that adversity serves to prove the authenticity of his testimony of fidelity to God. Whereas someone who has never been born from above may either be driven further from God in hardness of heart, or may cling a little closer to his religion. An unbeliever may or may not succeed in adversity simply because he faces his trial spiritually alone. The believer succeeds because God is at work forging in him the image of His Son and will not let him go.

David’s first two verses state his anxiety by employing four questions each beginning with “how long…?” The plaintive questions try to put into words the distance he is sensing from the presence of God. He asks how long he will be forgotten, disallowed from an audience with God, left alone with his own doleful thoughts, and ground down under the foot of his enemy. He gives voice to his powerful anxiety which would drive others away from God but actually drives him directly into an audience with God.

Though his thoughts tumble one after the other, definite life-lessons for the believer are easily drawn by reviewing his four pleas. 1) The sense of being forgotten by God can only be fixed by being remembered by God. 2) The feeling of being away from the face of God can only be solved by being in fellowship with God. 3) The abandonment of being alone with his thoughts can only be reversed by the peace that comes from being in the counsel of His heavenly Father. 4) The defeat of the enemy always having the upper hand can only find its answer in being vindicated by God Almighty.

Even as David is drawn into an audience with God in the first pair of verses, the second pair of verses expresses the humble bent of his heart as he asks for divine attention to his needs. Graciousness never departs from him in anxiety. He asks that God look at him and answer his requests. He asks that God would bring light into his understanding. (Such enlightened understanding is because God appears to step into the light so that the believer can see more fully God’s character as Helper and Provider.) He asks that God stop the enemy from boasting. He asks that God preserve him from faltering.

Now, after humbly beseeching God, David attests his resolution of soul devotion to God in the final pair of verses. He has come into the presence of God and received a new awareness of what God is like. Therefore he is resolved to be the one who trusts in God’s unbending, unshakeable, merciful faithfulness. He is assured that God cares (verse 1), that he will see the enemy defeated (verse 2), that his thoughts will be healed (verse 2), that God’s character is ever trustworthy (verse 3), and that God cares for him with a fatherly care (verse 6).

Where there had been cold loneliness of heart, God poured forth the sunny rays of His lovingkindness upon His tenderly loved child, warming him with the glow of God’s faithfulness for the world to see. How do you handle the anxieties of life? Do they claw you away into the outer darkness away from a close orbit to the Son of Righteousness? Trust and obey.