November 10, 2019

Will You Forget Me Forever?

Psalm 13

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?

—  Psalm 13:1

The captain of the destroyer I served on during the Vietnam War sent me home several weeks early for training. The ship’s schedule required dropping me off at an Air Force base in the Philippines a week before my flight out. Knowing no one there, I faced a lonely wait. In some ways I felt God-forgotten, if not God-forsaken.

David the psalmist had feelings of God-forgottenness. He had times of being surrounding by enemies. He wrote of the aloneness one can feel when it seems God has turned away and the enemy is at the gate.

In the Philippines, I wondered, “Has God lost track of me way over here?” It could have been an opportunity for the enemy to gain the upper hand! I decided to do what I knew to do: worship. That evening I braved the unknown and went to the base chapel’s Sunday-evening service.

After the benediction, friendly folks greeted me. That week, Air Force Christians became a young Naval officer’s friends. God hadn’t overlooked or forgotten me. He’d answered my prayer. How long, Lord? “Just long enough to assure you I’m near, but never too long.”

If it seems God has forgotten you, follow David’s example in worship today: call on the Lord, trust his unfailing love, rejoice in his salvation, and sing praises for his goodness—even if you don’t feel like it.

Lord, at times it can feel as if you’ve forgotten us and we’re abandoned. Then you let us know we’re always in your love. Reassure us today. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Norman F. Brown

Chaplain Norman F. Brown graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, in 1969. He served aboard destroyers during the Vietnam conflict and ashore in San Diego, Calif., as an instructor. By then God had made clear his call to work in pastoral ministry, and Norman entered Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating in 1980. Chaplain Brown pastored churches during his ministry career but spent most of his time as a navy chaplain. During one assignment he served three years at Holy Loch, Scotland, where he and his wife, Ruth, encountered the Iona Community and their emphasis on spiritual disciplines. Chaplain and Mrs. Brown have three married children and nine grandchildren.

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