1. When Waiting Is Difficult

Psalm 13

We do not like to wait. Whether it is being put on hold on the phone or standing in a long line at the store, waiting irritates us.

Sometimes, though, waiting is more than an annoyance. Sometimes it’s torturous. Waiting for a loved one to come out of surgery. Waiting for the results of a biopsy taken to test for cancer. Waiting for an answer to a prayer we have been praying for months or even years. This kind of waiting is difficult because it is full of fear. We are left in these times with terrible questions about our future—and terrible questions about God.

Scripture testifies to these times of painful waiting, putting into words our anguished fears. Wonderfully, Scripture also offers us hope and strength for these times of difficult waiting.

Group Discussion. What kinds of situations are hardest for you to wait patiently in? Why?

Personal Reflection. Think of a time when you waited a long time for an answer to prayer. What anxieties did you experience while waiting? How did this time of waiting affect your sense of God’s presence with you?

In this psalm, the psalmist voices the great distress he is experiencing in a time of waiting. In doing so, he offers us permission and language to express our struggles to God. Read Psalm 13.

  1. How would you title each of the three sections of this psalm (vv. 1-2, vv. 3-4 and vv. 5-6)?
  2. What do we learn from the first section (vv. 1-2) about how waiting affects the psalmist mentally and emotionally?
  3. How does the experience of waiting affect how he experiences God (v. 1)?
  4. How does the psalmist’s mental, emotional and spiritual experience while waiting compare with your experiences during times of difficult waiting?
  5. What does the psalmist ask for in verse 3?
  6. What is the psalmist convinced will happen if God doesn’t answer him (v. 4)?
  7. What does the psalmist commit to doing in the final section of the psalm?
  8. What does he reaffirm about God?
  9. How might remembering these truths about God help you when waiting is difficult?
  10. How can this text be a resource to you in your times of waiting?
  11. In a time of quiet join the psalmist in his prayer found in verse 3: “Look on me and answer, Lord my God.” Sit in silence before God, perhaps with your hands open on your lap, with this prayer in your heart. Share or write about your experience in this time of quiet before God.

Express your longing to know God’s presence with you in whatever difficulty or challenge you are facing.

Now or Later

Using Psalm 13 as a model, journal a prayer. Express to God whatever difficulty you are experiencing. Ask for God’s help and for the faith to trust that God is with you. Reaffirm what you know to be true about who God is.