How long?

How long O Lord, how long?

Don’t you see, haven’t you heard? We are a people prone to perish. We are aching and withering away. We are desolate, tired, bedraggled, and torn to our very hearts. This life is so much, so heavy. How long must we wait for you to intervene? How long must we cry to heaven, longing for comfort but finding only silence. How long must we watch as things fall apart, going from bad to worse to even worse still. How long?

They say you are gracious, comforting, and love. Are you, or do you speak to us with kind words while leaving us all alone?

How long O Lord, how long?

***

How long O Lord, how long?

How long will sexual abuse be allowed to flourish? How long will children be hurt? How long will princes, kings, governments, and law makers make it hard to bring the abusers to justice? How long will the ravages of abuse remain in the shadows of people’s lives? How long will we find that abuse is more normal than we ever feared? How long will we be unable to protect little girls and little boys from a twisted sexual history of hurt and shame?

They say you are sovereign, lord of space and time. Are you, or do you sit as helpless as we are watching horror stories unfold?

How long O Lord, how long?

***

How long O Lord, how long?

Your people perish because of economic hardship, because of illness of the body and the mind, and because of wounds inflicted by the evil in your world. We are pressed. We are crushed. We are dying. Looking around, I can see those who are prospering, and they don’t look like your people. Those who oppress, who take advantage, who disregard the weight of loving their neighbor: these are the people who prosper. What about us, the lowly and the oppressed? What about the humble, the poor in spirit?

They say you are merciful, close to those who draw near to you. Are you, or do you keep in your lofty towers and never bother with the suffering and those of us in need?

How long O Lord, how long?

***

How long O Lord, how long?

Have you seen your church? Do you hear what passes for a safe community? How can you stand by and see what people do, preach, and defend in your name and do nothing? Where is the Spirit of God among your people? There is abuse in the name of leadership, cultural moralism in the name of theology, and judgement in the name of love. How is this bringing the kingdom of heaven? Where is Jesus in this mess?

They say you are jealous and just. Are you, or are you content to let corruption, bullying, and marketing pass for the church build in your name?

How long O Lord, how long?

***

How long O Lord, until your name breaks forth on this earth, until nations cease to rage and princes, pastors, and political pundits cease to plot in vain? How long until the church is safe for the abused, the wounded, those who long for Jesus? How long until you come and set all things right, make all things well?

How long O Lord, how long?

  • annette skarin

    It’s good to express frustration just as King David and Job did.

  • Ryan Thomas Neace

    Like. Relate.

  • How long indeed until the knowledge of the Lord covers the earth as the waters cover the sea? How long until the faith shall become sight. The weight of the world is heavy, heavy…

    But thankfully, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

    Great, great post, Aaron.

  • Cspokey

    What a touching post. I’ve felt this way many, many times. I’d like to share a couple quotes that share this sentiment. The first comes from a favorite hymn of mine, “Redeemer of Israel.”

    The third verse goes like this:

    “How long we have wandered
    As strangers in sin
    And cried in the desert for thee!
    Our foes have rejoiced
    When our sorrows they’ve seen,
    But Israel will shortly be free.”

    The forth verse is filled with hope:

    “As children of Zion,
    Good tidings for us.
    The tokens already appear.
    Fear not, and be just,
    For the kingdom is ours.
    The hour of redemption is near.”

    One of our prophets also asked such questions:

    “O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?

    How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries?

    Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thine heart shall be softened toward them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them?

    O Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven, earth, and seas, and of all things that in them are, and who controllest and subjectest the devil, and the dark and benighted dominion of Sheol – stretch forth thy hand; let thy eye pierce; let thy pavilion be taken up; let thy hiding place no longer be covered; let thine ear be inclined; let thy thine heart be softened, and thy bowels moved with compassion toward us.

    Let thine anger be kindled against our enemies; and, in the fury of thine heart, with thy sword avenge us of our wrongs.

    Remember thy suffering saints, O our God; and thy servants will rejoice in thy name forever.”

    Here is the recorded answer:

    “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

    … Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.”

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