How Long?

“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall. 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”
(Psalms 13:1-6).

Every family trip I have ever taken, less than halfway there, three questions consistently come up. “Are we there yet?” The answer “no”. “Are we almost there?” The answer, “almost”. And Finally, “How much longer?” I learned in early years the mistake of giving an estimated time of arrival which results in only one question left and asked a hundred times, “what time is it?”

It’s human nature. It is hard to wait when one longs to be somewhere else. It’s one thing, waiting for an arrival at a desired destination, it’s another thing just longing for the peace of God’s presence especially
when faced with disturbing circumstances. So, we ask, “How long”?

So much has changed in such a short time; Businesses mandated to close or operate with drastic changes, covered faces, six-foot spaces, people huddled at home, fear of exposing the vulnerable. Many people are out of work, facing economic collapse, losing hope. In these times I take great comfort in the testimony of David who wrote, ”I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread (Ps 37:25). I also find words of comfort throughout the word of God, especially in the Psalms of David. David holds nothing back as he passes through a life
of failures and faith, loses and gains, defeats and victories.

He had the same thoughts as most do, when facing adverse experiences. The thirteenth Psalm begins with the same words echoing throughout the world today, “How Long?”. The chain of thought that follows is typical, the Lord has forgotten me, and still worse He is intentionally remaining hidden. The relentless battle of thought, sorrow, and sleepless nights seems to give victory to a ruthless enemy. David cries out, “Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes” (v.3). The final three verses do not contain any new word from God. In fact, it seems as if God is still hidden. No new “light”. What David is left with is the “light” of his past experiences of God’s faithfulness and love. As he ponders all that has been given and remembers all that has been promised he renews his trust and declares, “I
will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.”

Right now, the “trip” is taking way too long. Patience is wearing thin. Are we there yet? Remember, after a long day of travel the relentless inquiries of “when will we get there” are often followed by a sleeping child finally arriving at the destination carried, asleep in the arms of the faithful father, whispering “we’re here”.

In His Service,
Pastor Mike