Not too long ago, I accidentally caught two fingers of my left hand in the hinges of a door as it closed. If that has ever happened to you, you understand the kind of sudden pain that shoots through your hand. I was in a building lobby, and all I needed to do was get to my car, make the short ride home, and put some ice on my hand. I was in pain, but what I did next was interesting. Instinctively, I pretended that it hadn’t really hurt. I assured the people near me that I was fine, even though it was all I could do to keep from yelling in pain. I waved to everyone and walked calmly to my car.

Have you ever done that? Have you ever been in pain and tried your best not to let anyone know? Why do we do that? We go to worship on Sunday when we are hurting and tell everyone we are fine, or we pretend everything is okay, even when we are in pain. If we aren’t careful, we might even try to do that before God.

Psalm 13 is one of the many “lament psalms” that ask tough questions of God. In fact, it begins with one of the most common questions — “how long?” It sounds like a question we might read from the mouth of Job, as he wrestles with why he was suffering as a faithful follower of God. These passages give us permission to bring our hurt and confusion to the surface and share them with our Creator.

The lament psalms remind us that we can be honest with our emotions before the Lord. After all, He knows exactly how we feel, and He is big enough to handle any tough issues in our lives. Holding in our emotions will lead to bitterness, but voicing them in prayer to God can ultimately lead to healing.

This psalm follows a pattern we often see in lament psalms. Many lament psalms begin with a poignant question or complaint that displays the pain in the psalmist’s life. By the end of the psalm, it concludes with reassuring praise and dedication to God. While it doesn’t happen overnight, taking our complaints and laments to God and allowing Him to see us through will ultimately lead to stronger faith and renewed assurance in His promises.

We don’t have to pretend we aren’t in pain. God is listening, and God understands.

Today, I will…pray to God and honestly share the tough questions I struggle with in life. I will pray for strength and courage as I tackle those issues, and I will ask God to be with me as I seek to grow in faith.