Lord, how long?
If we are honest with ourselves, we’ve all asked this question.
Lord, I’ve been praying about this situation for years. How long must I wait to see an answer?
Lord, our world feels it is spinning out of control. How long must we wait to see your response to our moans?
Lord, I’ve battled this illness for years. How long must I wait? I’m tired of waiting, Lord.
If you’ve asked God how long you must keep waiting, you are not alone.
“Lord – how long? Turn and have compassion on Your servants.” Psalm 90:13
“How long, Lord, must I call for help and You do not listen or cry out to You about violence and You do not save?” Habakkuk 1:2
These words hang on my bedroom wall. They are from Psalm 90, which I began praying over my family years ago. When I see these words, I remember what I’m asking the Lord.
“Satisfy us in the morning with Your faithful love so that we may shout with joy and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14
I’ll be honest, I’m drawn to pray these words out of selfish motives. I want to be satisfied. I want to shout with joy. I want to be glad ALL my days.
When I read Psalm 90:15, the very next verse, I pause. “Make us rejoice for as many days as You have humbled us, for as many years as we have seen adversity.”
Lord, how long?
And what do we do while we wait?
I imagine the Lord with a smile on His face, replying, “Well, child, I’m glad you asked.” I envision Him directing my heart in prayer. And this is the response of my heart.
“Let Your work be seen by Your servants, and Your splendor by their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us: establish for us the work of our hands – establish for us the work of our hands!” Psalm 90: 16-17
While we wait, something is waiting to be seen. Do we see it? “Let Your work be seen….” Friends, He is working. Do we see it?
While we wait, something is waiting to descend upon us. Do we experience it? “Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us.” Friends, His favor is ours to hold.
While we wait, something is waiting to be done. Do we do it? “Establish for us the work of our hands….” Friends, we have work to do while we wait. Do we do it?
How well do I wait? Not that well honestly. I want results yesterday. I want healing instantly. I want to see heart change the moment I ask.
While you wait, dwell well. Live well, dwell well. Don’t wait for the answer to the cry of your heart before you decide to live fully alive in the Lord.
If we continue in God’s Word right where we left off in Psalm 90:17, we move into Psalm 91. Verse 1 holds a key to waiting well and dwelling better.
“The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty.”
To live under the protection of the Most High is a choice to remain, abide in Him. To live a life of obedience. To crucify ourselves daily. To pick up our cross and follow Him. To slay selfishness and pride. That is how we live under the protection of His umbrella. When we live under His protection, we dwell well in His shadow.
Now that we are willing to live well and dwell well, we are ready to open our eyes.
Watch and Wait
“How long, Lord, must I call for help and You do not listen or cry out to You about violence and You do not save? Why do You force me to look at injustice? Why do You tolerate wrongdoing? Oppression and violence are right in front of me. Strife is ongoing, and conflict escalates. This is why the law is ineffective and justice never emerges. For the wicked restrict the righteous; therefore, justice comes out perverted.” Habakkuk 1:2-4
When I read this passage of scripture, I felt seen and heard by God. It feels as though we are crying out for justice, yet injustice escalates, evil continues to flaunt and parade itself. It seems. Just because we feel a certain way, doesn’t make it true.
How long must we wait? Really?
The Lord answered Habakkuk, and the Lord answers us the same.
“Look at the nations and observe – be utterly astounded! For something is taking place in your days that you will not believe when you hear about it.” Habakkuk 1:5
God desires we be utterly astounded by Him. He is worthy of our astonishment! I love how Habakuk responds to God’s first answer. He responds with who God is. Yahweh my God, My Holy One, my Rock. Yes, Lord!! You are astounding!
Habakkuk makes a choice to wait. To watch and wait.
“I will stand at my guard post and station myself on the lookout tower.
I will watch to see what He will say to me and what I should reply about my complaint.” Habakkuk 2:1
Lord, am I standing at my guard post? Am I stationing myself on the lookout tower? Oh, Lord, may I watch and see what you will say to me. May I be utterly astounded by You.
Wait for it!!!
We have short attention spans. Our media, image driven world, is ready for the next scene before the first is fully developed. When a parent posts a cute video of their toddler, a common caption is “Wait for it!” The one posting the video doesn’t want us to miss the best part, which is yet to come. Often if they don’t prompt us to “wait for it,” we move on because we believe we’ve seen all we need to see. But they know what we don’t know. The best is yet to come.
God responds similarly to Habakkuk in 2:3. “…..Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late.”
Though it delays, it will not come late. I love words. And words that seem to contradict grab my attention these days. Is a delay not late? Or is it maybe we feel an answer we wait on is delayed, but really it will arrive right on time. God does everything in perfection, including timing His answers.
We can trust Him fully.
Live well, Dwell well, Watch well, Wait well. God is moving.