Tuesday Reflection – September 22, 2020
How Long, O Lord?
One of the most frequent questions being asked these days is ‘how long’ or ‘how much longer?’ How much longer will we have to endure this virus and the effects? How much longer until we can go back to church? How long will we have to do school from home for I am already tired of it? How long until there is a vaccine? How long until I can work again? How long until we go back to being normal? The question of how long is timeless and often used. Not only is it a quest for information but the response has the potential to settle the mind. In today’s Watchword it is David who asks the ‘how long’ question of God. How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? Psalm 13: 1
There’s no certainty as to what was happening in David’s life at the writing of this Psalm, but we note that he was feeling neglected and abandoned by God. It somehow felt as if God had withdrawn from him and was no longer keeping his promise and covenant. David felt as if the lovingkindness of God which we read of in Psalm 63 was no longer there. This feeling of abandonment by God that David was experiencing was not a good one and he needed to have the assurance from God that it would not be forever. He knew that he could not make it for much longer, could not survive, without God’s presence. Thus he pleads with God, how long, O Lord? Four times he asks this question in the Psalm. How long will you forget me? How long will you stay away from me? How long will I be led by a sorrowful heart? How long will my enemies have the upper hand? This, friends is the cry of a lonely suffering soul. In Revelations 6: 10, following the opening of the fifth seal, John saw the souls of the martyrs under the altar of heaven. Their cry is the same question of pain and anguish. How long O Lord? How long until this comes to an end? How long will evil continue to overpower us? How long until you establish your holy kingdom and reign? When the soul is in anguish, it longs for the establishment of the rule of God for when God takes full control, evil will be destroyed.
Since the beginning of 2020, many of us have silently breathed the question: How long, O Lord? Others have tearfully questioned, how many more, how long, O Lord? Still others have screamed, how long, O Lord, how long? Dear friends, God always has an answer for our how long questions. You see in our timing we want God to act in the here and now but it suits us to remember that God does not see as we do nor does he act according to our desires. In 2 Peter 3: 9 we are reminded that: The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
We need to realize that God has a plan and He is working it out for our good. David concludes the Psalm with such a realization. He decides to wait and to trust God. ‘But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.’ In David’s despair he remembered God’s mercy and it gave him peace for the present as well as hope for the future. My prayer for us today is that even as we lament, we will remember the goodness and mercies of God and be assured that He has not forgotten nor abandoned us. He is in the midst of our storm and he gently guides our vessel to safety. Amen.