How Long, O God?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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How long, O God, will you allow our enemies to insult you? Will you let them dishonor your name forever?

Psalm 74:10

Time and again throughout the Psalms, we read the plaintive question, “How long?” When the psalmists are suffering personally or when they see the pain of Israel or when they witness the prevalence of injustice, they cry out to God, “How long?”

And so do we. As we live our lives in relationship with the living God, sometimes we are so filled with thanks that we can hardly contain ourselves. But there are other times, times of doubt and discouragement, times when we wonder what God is doing or if he is still there. In these times, we join the psalmists in calling, “How long, O God?”

I'm sure there have been times when this kind of prayer has received a specific answer from the Lord. But, for the most part, we don’t hear a voice from heaven saying, “Three months and two days.” Rather, our “How long?” questions usually receive the response of silence. This can be hard to take! But if we allow ourselves to quiet down, if we let the still, small voice of God’s Spirit whisper in the silence, we will be reassured of God’s love and sovereignty. We may not know how long we’ll have to wait for God’s response to our prayers. But we will know with calming assurance that God is waiting with us.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When have you cried out to God, “How long?” What happened when you prayed this way? What helps you to wait upon the Lord?

PRAYER: Gracious Lord, when things in my life are going well, I find it easy to acknowledge your gracious sovereignty over my life . . . indeed, over all history. Yet, when I’m in a hard spot, when my life is stuck in a rut, when my prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling rather than ascend to your throne, then I join the psalmists in praying, “How long?”

Thank you, Lord, for the freedom to cry out to you. Thank you that I don’t have to censor my prayers for your sake. In particular, I thank you for the encouragement to cry out, “How long?”

Loving Father, I know that a thousand years is like a day to you. But sometimes it’s hard to live according to your timing. Help me, I pray, to be patient. Help me to trust you when I’m afraid. Help me to know that you are with me, no matter what happens in this life. Amen.

Image courtesy of
Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.