How Long, O Lord?
Most parents of little children know the phrase ‘are we there yet?’ from long car journeys with their families. The kicking of the back of the front seats can drive you crazy! Young minds cannot always fully grasp concepts like distance and timing yet and are easily bored. Thankfully, they are also easily distracted.
When life’s troubles go on for a long time, like this lockdown, similar questions arise in our adult hearts too. ‘My soul is in deep anguish. How long, O Lord, how long?’ (Psalm 6:3). I asked that question many times during the twenty-two years of my battle with serious and chronic ill health. I longed for the trials to come to an end.
Early in my ordeal I felt that God gave me 1 Peter 5:10 as a personal promise. ‘And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast’ (1 Peter 5:10). I held onto the ‘little while’ part of the verse like a drowning man clasping a piece of flotsam. But as the months, years and finally decades passed without an end to my problem, I started looking again at what the Bible means by the phrase. God’s ‘little while’ turns out to be quite unlike my own interpretation of those words. His timing is not my timing.
My own ‘little while’ appears to have ended now, although storms will not cease completely till we reach heaven. I praise Him for His sustaining grace in the trial and for bringing me out of it. As in Ecclesiastes chapter three, ‘there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.’ Take courage from that assurance today. God has the timing in His hands, and He will bring you out of this season when its time is done. When Jesus calmed the wind and waves on the Galilee, the one that threatened to drown his disciples, He stilled the storm when He was finished with it, not when they were. His timing is always perfect and His sovereignty and power unlimited.
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