Have you ever felt abandoned by God? If so, then perhaps this entry is for you?

January 19, 2023: This morning I enjoyed a few hours of deep conversation with a friend in pastoral ministry. As we talked, he shared how he is currently living through a season of transition; where God is giving him great comfort in the words from Psalm 13; a prayer of David.

This evening, while readying myself to “call it a day” and head home from the office, as I grabbed my journal, serendipitously, I opened it to an entry I had written on April 20, 2020.

The title I had written at the top of the page caught my eye.

I also recognized that the passage of Bible verses I was reflecting on, for this particular journal entry, were the very SAME passage of verses my friend had earlier referenced in Psalm 13.

God had my attention.

For almost 25 years, for my Bible reading and reflection time, I have utilized a journalling methodology called SOAP. I learned it from a friend of mine: Wayne Cordeiro.

Wayne taught me, that with each journal entry, I should give my reflection a TITLE. For this particular musing, my title is the word: BUT.

Scripture: Psalm 13:5-6. “But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me.”

Observation: David begins Psalm 13 with a prayer asking God why He has abandoned him. It seems that Davids enemies have the upper hand and David, naturally, is feeling sorrowful. Life is hard.

So, David asks God why he has been left to fight his enemies on his own. Basically, what David is asking is, “Where are You God?”

This is an honest question.

What I love about David’s prayer is his use of the word, “But.” Anytime one uses the word, “but” it negates what was previously stated.

Some examples:
You are amazing BUT I’m going to hire someone else.
I like that BUT I am not going to buy it.
I think you did great BUT you could do better.

David declares his frustration that God has abandoned him BUT he will still choose to remember the times when God was there for him; and thus, will continue to sing to the Lord.

Application: There are days when I wonder if my days of ministry are drawing to a close. I’m older. My focus throughout the day seems to wane more and more. Concentration for long periods of time seems to ebb and flow sporadically. As my friends and ministry peers are all beginning to retire, it leads me to ask the question: How much longer should I keep doing this?

But then I look at the fruit of my ministry and listen to the feedback testimony of those close to me and I realize that God is still using me. That I still have some gas left in the tank.

So, though I wonder how many more years I have left in front of me, with clear decisiveness and a big BUT, I will choose to trust the Lord.

I am tired BUT still I will continue to run the race that God has called me to run.

I question my capacity to lead at times BUT I choose to celebrate the truth that God is the One leading and all I must do is follow.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for Your faithfulness. Forever Your hand has been on my life – please forgive me when I doubt Your confidence in me. I know that You are with me. I see Your handprints and activity all around me.

I ask today that You will continue to guide and direct my steps. Please give me discernment for how to live in this season of being older, slower, BUT hopefully wiser.

I am old BUT I am still alive.
I am slower BUT I can still move and direct, and thus lead.

Father, the flame might be weaker BUT it is still burning. So, like David, I will sing to You for You have been good to me.

Mike D.

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