“O Lord, HOW LONG shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?
Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save?” Habakkuk 1.2
As I write this blog I have been made aware that it has been 100 days since our state was given the instructions to “stay home”. 100 DAYS!!! I’m sure the question on all of our minds is “How Long?” How long Lord? How long will this pandemic last? How long until a vaccine is found? How long until the country, city, and church reopens?
I looked up those two words in the Bible: How Long? It’s amazing how many times that question is asked. God asks it of Moses. Moses and Joshua ask the Israelites. The Lord asked Samuel, “How long” will you grieve over Saul?” Elijah asked the people, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions?” Job asks God, his family, and his friends, “How long?” Many Psalms find David and others asking God the same question. In Proverbs, “Wisdom” cries out, “How long…?” The Prophets cry out to God and the people: “How Long?”
Jesus, perplexed by the lack of faith of the disciples asked them: “How long do I need to be with you?” “How long am I to bear with you?” Some of those who were with Jesus asked, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Even the souls, found under the altar in Revelation 6, those who had been martyred, cried out to God, “How long before you judge and avenge our blood…?”
It’s normal to want to know how long something is going to last, or how long before God answers our prayer. It’s childlike faith: “How long until we get there?” (We always simply tell them, “We’re closer now than we were the last time you asked.”)
You may have other questions: How long until I get a job? How long until I’m married, or have a child? How long until I feel better? How long does the grieving period last? How long until our marriage is healthy? So, go ahead. Ask God, “How long…..?” Do it right now. It doesn’t mean you are impatient, or a whiner or complainer. It just means you know God is in charge, and He has all the answers, and He will meet you right where you are, and give you what you need as you continue to wonder, “How long?”
God loves it when we ask questions. Jesus used questions to teach in the moment. But, as you ask your questions, continue doing whatever God told you to do last, while you wait for His answer. Remember, 100 days to God is nothing compared to eternity.
“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you…” 2 Peter 3.8-9
Don’t get caught up simply waiting for an answer – pay attention to what God is revealing to you right now. The answer may be right in front of you, and you didn’t know it. Don’t put your life in neutral – engage with what God is doing right now. Keep stepping out of the boat, moving ahead in faith, one step at a time, one moment at a time. Don’t look for God in the miraculous – find Him in the simple, normal, everyday things of life. Listen for His low whisper – still small voice.