How Long, O Lord?

March 18, 2013 | My Jottings

I know a couple who have given their whole lives to ministering to God’s people. When one of their sons fell into meth addiction many years ago, they continued to selflessly minister to their flock, encouraging and believing for other peoples’ children, when their own was lost to them for over ten years. When this couple’s prayers were finally answered and their son returned to the Lord and finished his prison sentence, their joy knew no bounds. After five years of being clean, their son returned to the world of meth, and this couple are again praying for his deliverance while they continue to minister to many other hurting people.

I know a Christian woman whose Christian daughter won’t speak to her, even though this woman has humbled herself and begged for forgiveness many times. Her daughter will not allow her to see her grandchildren even though they live in the same town.

I know a Christian couple who are probably two of the most patient, skilled, loving, steadfast parents I’ve ever known, and their adult son has dominated their lives with his anger since he was a baby. And continues to do so.

I have a Christian friend who has prayed every day for over twenty years for her two children to pay a bit of attention to the Lord and the solid spiritual upbringing they received, and my friend has not seen the answer yet.

I know a man with a terrible disease that is slowly taking over his body, and his friends and family and pastor have prayed for his healing, anointed him with oil and prayed prayers of faith and praise for years, and healing has not come.

I have a relative who is the kindest, most generous, loving woman, but her former daughter-in-law hates her faith in Christ and has not allowed her two daughters to see or speak to their grandmother for years. Now they’re grown up and have taken on their mother’s contempt of their grandmother’s love of Jesus, and will not see her, but she prays every day that God will change their hearts.

I know someone who is a woman of prayer. She and her husband raised their three children to love the Lord, and gave them a stable home with a happy marriage for a model. One of the children is openly disdainful toward a God who makes what he sees as unfair rules and judgments, and he does not believe. This woman continues to pray, but has not seen the answers she’s asking for.

I know a young woman whose heart is soft and tender and who loves Jesus with everything she’s got. She has a father who claims to follow Christ but who is full of destructive pride and rage, and has been cruel and hateful to her and her mother for much of her life. She has believed the Bible’s promises about how prayer changes things, but has not yet seen the answer to her cries for her daddy.

I know a believing couple who want God to bless them with a child. Their brothers and sisters have had babies, but they have not conceived, and as she prays each month that a new life will form, she tries not to lose hope and to believe that God hears the cry of her heart.

I know a woman who has a strong, child-like faith in the Lord, and married a man who ended up being an alcoholic. She prayed for years that God would get a hold of her husband, and at times it seemed like He did, but most of the time it seemed like He didn’t. They finally divorced.

I’ll bet you know some people like this too.

Or maybe you have also been praying for something or someone for years and years, and are still waiting for God to move.

woman-praying-from-mountainThe older I get the more I realize how little I know about God. I know that He is good and He is faithful and He is great, but I don’t think I understand His timing and His ways sometimes.

Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever said, “How much longer before you answer this cry of my heart, O Lord?”

It gives me comfort to know that others have prayed that way too.

Like King David….

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, β€œI have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
~~Psalm 13

I love how David pours out his heart in desperation to God, but also makes a decision to declare the faithfulness of God in almost the same breath. I appreciate how he’s so worried about all the horrible things that might happen, but in the next sentence he’s remembering how much God has already lavished upon him.

And I’m grateful to know that God is accustomed to His people being desperate and thankful at the same time, worried and rejoicing all in the same hour. He can handle it.

Even if we think we can’t, He can.

Trusting with you in His steadfast love,

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Comments

  1. Ganeida says:

    I like Job Though He slay me, yet will I trust in the Lord. To me it is a declaration that no matter what Satan has got up to in the lives of our loved ones God is greater yet & though I may not yet see it He is working all things together for good.

    Hope all is well. Love & blessings your way.

  2. Just Julie says:

    That is exactly right, Ganeida! Thank you for the good reminder! xxoo

  3. Steve Bronte says:

    Sister –

    Once again you have posted something that so many of us can relate to. This message is so important – and screams to be read over and over. For the most part, I feel as if God is waiting on us, His children to get right with our families and then with Him. We all remember how Pharaoh’s was hardened. God was waiting for Pharaoh to obey – he did not and all of Egypt suffered because of his pride and arrogance. Eventually God and His people won out – but not before the 10 plagues and the death of Egypt’s first born. What a heavy price to pay. As for the Grandmother’s who can’t see their Granddaughters, the Father’s that can’t see their children and the Husbands and Wives who reach out to their spouses but can’t seem to connect to them – well, that we can rack up to family dynamics. God can fix anything. God is all about reconciliation and restoration and He is truly mysterious and mighty at the same time. But he must wait, because we separate ourselves from Him because of our sins, until our hearts become soft. He is always patient and is the pure essence of lovingkindness and forbearance. But we stand in His way with our petty jealousies, our hostility and our anger. We hold onto grudges and let the enemy pour hatred, frustration, mistrust and revenge into our hearts.

    God will sit back and watch as families are destroyed and blown away – because we won’t seek His will and fight against the evil schemes of Satan. Marriages are destroyed – families are broken and yet God has nothing to do with the pain and sorrow we inflict upon ourselves. He wants us to love with Agape love – unconditional love – complete and everlasting love. But there are so many who, unfortunately may never come to their senses and learn what Jesus told the His disciples. We need to first forgive each other totally and completely. We then must love one another – as Jesus loves us. We can’t love in bits and pieces. We must seek His face and love absolutely and without hesitation. We also must ask for His guidance as we reach out to those who we have hurt by our actions and by our words. We must humble ourselves and express our love to everyone – especially our families.

    The Lord has offered all of us a wondrous prize. We have chance to live this life in love or we can live it in suspicion and resentment. We can either be humble and ask for forgiveness or we can sit back and wait for God to do everything for us. He grants us free will – and only we can make the right choices. Do we wait for God to move the mountain or do we get right with Him and ask Him to help us move it?

    I am amazed at how many dysfunctional families there are. I am amazed at how many say that they are Christian and yet find some reason not to forgive as Christ has forgiven us. We must free out hearts to become what the Lord intended us to be. Lovers not haters. Giver not takers. Forgivers not self-centered critics. I hope and pray that all of those who are hurting and who cry out to God for His help realize that He want us to let go of all the hurtful and destructive feelings we harbor for others. We must do this – all of us – before He can hold us in His loving and healing hands.

    I pray for all of those families out there. The families that have been shattered by drugs, by divorce and by those that refuse to seek, accept and be grateful for the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May He come back soon – before we destroy ourselves and our relationships and marriages.

    Keep pumping out these wonderfully poignant posts Julie – God bless you for what you do and for what you write.

  4. Just Julie says:

    Thank you for your thoughts, Steve….God bless your week! xxoo

  5. Ember says:

    I’d like to comment about something Steve says above: “God will sit back and watch as families are destroyed and blown away – because we won’t seek His will and fight against the evil schemes of Satan.”

    This, and some of the things Steve says in his first paragraph, seem to me to imply that God’s love and involvement in our lives are dependant upon our getting things right in our interpersonal relationships before He will help us.

    My own feeling is that it’s the other way round. In our suffering, God suffers. In our bewilderment and mistakes, God teaches and reaches out a hand. He loves us, just as we are.

    Jesus’s own family came to section Him because they thought he was mad, His best friend betrayed Him for money to torture and death, the justice system failed Him completely, and what He went through I can hardly bear to think about. This was not because He stepped out of the will of God, but because He walked right into the heart of it. The most appalling suffering sometimes occurs in our lives; not only can not all of it be fixed, some of it seems to be – like Jesus’s – actually a part of our calling, part of the advancement of wisdom and compassion, the building of the Peaceable Kingdom.

    I am sure, absolutely sure, that God never ‘sits back’, that your prayer changes things; and of course praise does too.

  6. Just Julie says:

    Thank you Ember. I want people who comment here to feel that they can express their opinions freely and respectfully, and I’m always thankful for those who do. But disagreeing doesn’t have to be contentious and you have demonstrated that so well. I agree with everything you have said, Ember. If I thought for one minute that God was sitting back and letting us all wreck our lives without His compassionate intervention, it would be time to pack it in. We do make choices that have destructive consequences, but even then, we have His promise that He will work everything out for good, for those that love Him (Thank you Ganeida.)

    Your words were a comfort, dear Ember. xxoo

  7. Pat says:

    I loved Ember’s words. There’s so much about this life that we don’t understand. However, what is enough is that I know that Jesus is unconditional love and will never leave me or forsake me. What Jesus did for us on the cross is so mind blowing that I think if we fully grasped it, we’d never get off our knees in thankfulness! Thank you for this post, Julie.

  8. Just Julie says:

    I think you’re right, Pat. If we really, truly grasped it….how that might change my life and focus. πŸ™‚ xxoo

  9. Kay in Cornwall says:

    A big thank you to Ember from me as well. πŸ™‚
    Sometimes I read things on blogs/comments and feel uncomfortable about what has been said but feel too inadequate/afraid to comment myself.
    I agree with Steve when he says that holding onto grudges pours resentment into our own hearts – when I asked God for help about that last year, He sent five different responses into my life over four days from all sorts of sources!
    However, when I was on my own and so very, very lonely it seemed such a long time to wait for God to move in this aspect of my life. I was genuinely repentant over mistakes I’d made and had Christian and secular counselling to try and make good use of my aloneness. But I didn’t understand why I had to wait in such misery. But, when God knew the time was right(after 8 years of waiting), He brought Alan and I together. I can see God’s hand in this because Alan wasn’t free to be with me until this point in time (he was still grieving over the death of his first wife).
    There has been another time in my life where I was totally miserable and it has taken me over six years to get just an inkling of what God was doing then. I believe that maybe He used me to resolve a situation at work that affected dozens of people, but I’m still hurting from the pain I suffered. Nearly seven years on and still having occasional nightmares.
    I’m putting this here to maybe let others know who are experiencing a similar problem that you are not alone.
    xx

  10. Just Julie says:

    Your comments are always so helpful, Kay. Your transparency and humility are a blessing to all who read. Thank you for sharing parts of your life with me, and with all who might read. xxoo

  11. Larry says:

    Hellos Julie:

    Your post was interesting and full of both wonder and hurt, and loads of questions. We have to remember first that each of us and our relationship with Him is both personal and individual.

    We have to also realize that our bodies mean nothing to God the Father, and our Savior Christ. Yes they can heal, yes they can perform all things, and yes we too have been given the give of healing if our own life is where it should be, but it is the sole that is the concern of all of Heaven.

    That is why the Word says all of Heaven celebrates when a sole is saved.

    Sometimes when I am ask to pray for a healing, for someone I get a feeling that there is something else involved. Perhaps it is the lead of the spirit? Who am I to know.

    When I feel that I am being lead that way, I ask first does he or she know the Lord? If the answer is not, or no, then I have my answer. I am being lead to pray over their sole first.

    I also know that God allows or is in control of all things. He does allow hurts and ills to happen to bring about His will. Job is a good example of that. Each of the disciples are a good example of that all we have to do is look at how their lives ended, all haiving lived a sacrifical life for Him.

    Perhaps the most important message of all of this is shown in Matthew where it is not a Disciple making a statement, but rather Jesus Himself. I speak of 10:32-38, We are to seek him out and follow him, if we turn from him then there is much to consider, we are to always seek to be worthy of Him as it states in vs 39 and 40 and those who are in constant prayer their reward is mentioned in vs 42. No matter the circumstance, it is the reward that each of us seeks, it is the sole presence of just Him that we need in our lives individually. God is a God of choice, and we are always faced with choices. We also need to remember that when we pray, we need to clean our hearts and our mind of hinderances, becaue if there is a road block in our life, He might not hear our prayers. There are actions that act as road blocks in our lives for Him that will cause Him to turn from our prayers so that He will not hear our prayers no matter how humble. To be heard we need to seek His righteousness and to seek only the path that He has set before us. It seems harch but it is true, there are no gray areas with God. Never has been. I try to remember that there is a reason for everything that He allows or causes.

    To not know His will is one thing, to know His will and proceed against Him is yet another.

    It is true that Christ came to bring peace yet the coming of Christ is like the sword He speaks of, it is conflict between Christ and the antichrist and between light and darkness between Christ children and the devil’s children no matter who they may be. This conflict can occur even between members of the same family. Through that choice that He offers each of us can bring us together in peace and healing or seperated and in pain. Like it was said you you Sis earlier, we need to always be on our knees in (prayer) and thankfulness. WE need to always remember He will never leave us, but we can turn from Him. We also need to remember that our relationship with Him is really all that matters. Only He is our Savior.

  12. Just Julie says:

    This is the post of long comments! Thank you for your words, Larry. I agree with much of what you said, but I will respectfully disagree with your comment “we have to also realize that our bodies mean nothing to God the Father, and our Savior Jesus Christ.” I think the Bible is full of examples of how God loves His creation, and our bodies are part of that, if not the most important part of that creation. I think our bodies mean much to God because if we are in Christ, they are His dwelling place. I think Jesus proved in His earthly ministry that He cared about peoples’ bodies and their suffering very much. Yes, I do agree that God is most concerned about our souls, the part of us that will live forever. Our bodies here are temporal and will return to the earth. But just like I delight in and cherish the bodies of my children and grandchildren, which beautifully house their souls and spirits, I believe God even more must delight in and cherish the bodies of His people. He made the human body so intricate and amazing…how could he not care about His creation which He called “very good!” Anyway…just my two cents, Lar. xxoo

  13. Julie says:

    I am one of those families. My daughter is an addict. She uses alcohol, meth and marijuana. My daughter was given free will. She has resisted God’s grace. I do not believe she will find healing until she is ready to accept it. This does not mean that I do not believe God is powerful. He is. He is changing me. He is making me more loving. He is using my daughter’s example to teach me to be less judgmental. I am living surrounded by his grace and standing in his strength. Every day…

  14. Just Julie says:

    Julie, your path has been a difficult one. I am so thankful that you can find God’s grace and activity in your life as you wait on your daughter’s surrender to Him. I’m glad you shared here today – thank you. I know others will join in prayer for your daughter when they read your comment. Lord, we do lift her up today and ask you again, and again, and again, to do what it takes to help her say yes to you. In Jesus’ powerful name. And bless Julie and her husband with your constant, healing companionship, Lord. Hugs to you, dear Julie… xxoo

  15. Shari C. says:

    Thanks, Julie, for your thoughtful post. I really appreciated your thoughts and all the comments that followed, too.
    How God works will always be a mystery to me. I’ve come to the conclusion that His ways are much, much higher than my understanding and it’s not for me to know, or to have the mind of God. It is for me, though, to continue to work on believing like a child that His Love is real and always at work in this world and in the lives of all that He has so lovingly created. The gift of hope that He has offered us through His Son is His gift of grace to help us carry on…

  16. Just Julie says:

    Shari, Just like your art, you paint with your words. What you’ve said here is beautiful and soothing. Thank you so much, kind friend. xxoo

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