How Long, O Lord?

doubt-by-kiran-fosterYou may have heard me share that my two favorite books in the Bible are Leviticus and Lamentations (followed closely by James). Lamentations presents this beautiful dichotomy between the terror and heartache of daily life, and the mercy and love of God. In the midst of describing untold despair, the writer of Lamentations pauses, looks heavenward, and proclaims, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” (Lam 3:21-22).

I don’t know where you find yourself this week, but I find myself despairing over angry, bitter words and actions. They are without merit and truth, and yet that does not make the accusations any less painful. In fact, dishonest words are probably more hurtful than honest ones because they have no foundation in reality.

And when truth suddenly doesn’t seem to matter, it’s easy to lose hope and, like the writer of Lamentations, protest and exclaim, “My soul is downcast within me.” And with a downcast soul, it’s challenging to refocus on the One who is Truth and Hope.

But Lamentations reminds us – great is his faithfulness! His mercies are new every morning! I’ve often thought about mercy coming when I have gone astray, and God woos me back with His gracious mercy. But in Lamentations, God’s mercies are shed upon those who are painfully suffering, possibly without fault.

lamentation-by-rachel-titirigaAnd yet I continue to protest, “How much longer, God, will this persist?” And the writer of Lamentations reminds me, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

But how long will I have to wait? “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;”

So I will seek you. Pray to you. Offer this painful episode back to you. I will hope in you. But, when will the truth come to light?

“It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

And so I wait. And trust. And know God’s salvation – the salvation that brings forth truth and light, the salvation that reflects God’s true purposes and hope, the salvation which dries every tear and wipes every eye, the salvation that heals broken souls – mine and others – will come.