For the past month, we have celebrated with Lynn and Mike over his baptism. “Praise the Lord, hallelujah,” echoed around the world from those who had traveled this road with them. Can’t you just hear the angels and the heavenly choir also shouting, “Did ya’ll see that? Another soul has come into the kingdom! Whooopeeeee!”
And yet, despite our happiness for them, deep within many of our hearts there is still that inner voice that cries out, “What about my spouse, Lord? When is it going to be my turn? How long is it going to take?”
Whether it be the salvation of our loved-ones or some other trial in our lives, we often find ourselves in situations that it takes longer than we thought it would take. It is then that our emotions are tested.
Actually we are in good company with David, the one described in the Bible as “a man after God’s own heart.” He asked the same question and describes his own frustrations in Psalm 74:9-11 (MSG)
There’s not a sign or symbol of God in sight, nor anyone to speak in his name,
no one who knows what’s going on.
How long, God, will barbarians blaspheme, enemies curse and get by with it?
Why don’t you do something?
How long are you going to sit there with your hands folded in your lap?
Now, that was pretty blunt, wasn't it?
My mentor of long ago once spoke from the topic of “How long, Lord, How long?” It became one of those sermons I tucked away in my files that I take out and re-read from time-to-time. This past month has been one of those times.
I thought you might enjoy reading a few scriptures she used as “food for thought.” I have added my own thoughts of things I have learned from them as a means of self-evaluation.
1. How long? Until we do something about the situation ( Deuteronomy 2:3 MSG)
Then God said, “You’ve been going around in circles in these hills long enough; go north."
As a former school teacher, I am reminded how often I said to my students, “We are going to do this over and over again until you get it right!” (“Ugh!” were their groans.) I have come to realize that there are times God has taught me how to respond when certain situations occur. If I don’t do it, inevitably, the same type of test appears again and again. It is then, I think He is saying to me as He did in this verse, “You are been going around in circles long enough; it is time for you to get your act together and move on!”
2. How long? Until we pray for our friends Job. 42:10 (TLB)
When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before!
I have to confess, I am so guilty at times of praying for “me and my four and no more,” rather than being an intercessor for my friends. How selfish! Enough said about that!
3. How long? Until you submit to His timing. (Jeremiah 29:11 MSG)
As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
Jeremiah teaches us that God told the children of Israel they were going into captivity in Babylon. When they got there, they were to go ahead and plant their gardens and build their houses, as if to say, “You might as well accept this for now because you will be here 70 years.”
God’s timing is not something I want to submit to and accept, but I have discovered that as long as I resist, it only causes me more turmoil. I think it works much better to plant our garden and build our houses right in the prison where we are. God will be right in that prison with us.
4. How long? Until we let go just like Abraham had to let go of Isaac (Heb. 11: 17-19 NKJV)
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.
I have to believe that when this great Patriarch was going up the mountain to offer his only son as a sacrifice, he was in agony. But in his agony, Abraham’s faith was such that God would raise him up again, so he let go.
I have often prayed, “God, help me to let go of my Isaac and trust you.”
Can you relate to any of these?
Share your thoughts in the comments.