How long Oh Lord?
Some of us will remember being children and looking forward to life and being able to experience the many wonders of the world. Hoping to be farmers, hockey players, husbands, wives, mother, fathers. Hoping to travel and see the world and so much more. Hopefully, we have all seen some of our dreams come true. Unfortunately, many of the things we dreamed about and hoped for did not last. Children grew up, husbands or wives have died. All of us, as we get older, come up against so many obstacles and problems. Now, here we are in a nursing home, with bodies that don’t work right, with lots of aches and pains and minds that, so easily, get mixed up. We can even wish for the end of such difficult times whether by some miraculous cure or even by death. At times we can think of church and of all the promises of God, promises of blessing and hope. Yet, here we are. Where are the blessings? The words of David in this psalm, in some way, ring true.
How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?
More than once in your distress you have cried out to God. You have complained to Him. Why has He left you here, with your troubles, in a nursing home.
What do we do when we do not hear the Lord? What do we do when we think that the Lord has forgotten about us or even worse that He has hidden His face from us? What are we to do?
Other passages tell us to wait on the Lord. Are we not promised blessing if we wait upon the Lord? Psalm 27 says, “wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” Psalm 37 says, “those who wait on the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.” Isaiah says that “those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (Is 40:31) Is this really true? How long do I have to wait? It is too hard to wait.
How easily we turn to our own counsel saying, “I will have to figure this our myself.” But have I not tried this so often? I tried to keep my own home. I tried to make people see that I could manage. People even turned against me. They helped to put me in here. Oh, if I could just sort out all of my problems.
How long shall I take counsel in my soul? Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
What are you to do?
Listen to David. He began by complaining to God in his distress. His complaint was against God, against the creator and sustainer of life. Is it possible that God did not hear David? Does he not know all things? Is it possible for God to forget David, even David who God called a man after his own heart? No God does not forget His people. Moses told the people of God to “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Do we believe this? Are we willing to trust the Lord God even when things don’t go as we had hoped?
Listen to David. Although he begins by complaining he turns from complaining and cries out saying, “Consider and hear me, O Lord my God.” Notice the change. He address the Lord my God. He acknowledges that the Lord is his God. David then asks the Lord to enlighten or open his eyes. It is not because you are not there Lord. Open my eyes so I can see you. In his prayer, David expresses his concern for the honour of the Lord. David prays, consider and hear me, O Lord my God. Enlighten my eyes, less I sleep the sleep of death. If you are not there God, if you can not hear me then there is no hope. Without you Lord all I have to look forward to is death with no hope. What about Isaiah 40 and renewed strength, mounting up with wings as eagles, running without weariness? What about all the things you have promised Oh Lord?
Consider and hear me, O Lord my God, lest my enemies say that they have won and they rejoice over my trouble. Lord, I have cried out to you. If you do not hear me, if you do not answer me, if you do not help me, then those who hate you, those who say there is no God will be able to laugh at you Oh Lord. Oh Lord, for your names sake, hear me.
The Lord will not deny His Name. He will keep His promises. The enemies of the Lord will not have the last laugh.
When David turned from complaining to the Lord and cried out, praying to the Lord, that the Lord answer so that the enemies of the Lord would not have the last laugh; it is then that David’s heart is renewed. His faith is strengthened. He once more knows that the Lord will not leave him or forsake him.
Listen to David,
But I have trusted in Your mercy:
My heart shall rejoice in Your Salvation.
David has turned from wanting things to work out according to his own plan to placing is trust in the mercy of the Lord. David will rejoice in the Lord’s salvation, not in his own ways. Now David with joy says,
I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
Those who trust in the mercy of the Lord, they, like David, will come to rejoice in their hearts for Jesus, their Salvation, who came and died for their sins. They will, even now, be able to sing to the Lord because they know that He has dealt bountifully with them. He has dealt with them in His mercy and not according to their sin.
When we come before the Lord God, the creator of heaven and earth, the one who has made you and sustains us, the one who gives life and takes life away, when you come before him in prayer, when we are willing to trust in His mercy, the only mercy that can save us from the hell we deserve for our sins, when we are willing to pray to him rather than complain, when we are willing to accept his will for our life and not our own will, then He will open our eyes of those He has called out of darkness to the truth that He is with us, that He knows our troubles and has good plans for each of his children’s lives.
In these latter days of life, that can be so full of trouble, they will be able to rejoice in the Lord.
Let us join with David even now, in our latter days, and rejoice in the Lord’s Salvation and sing to the Lord, for He has and will deal bountifully with us, His children.
For direct quotes from scripture I used
The New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.