How long God?
I started writing this blog on 29th Nov. My previous blog on the Psalms was posted on 5th November. It’s now another 12 days and I am only just ‘picking up’ writing again! That’s a long time, especially as I had hoped to write about one psalm each week, or is it?
All sorts of things have got in the way; some of them have been trivial but, others more serious. Whatever has transpired, time has gone by!
The idea of ‘quick answers’ to prayer is not a common one in the bible.
Hearing God speak seems to take time even for established prophets!
Jeremiah prayed for 10 days before he received God’s word a group of Army officers who wanted to know whether or not they should flee to Egypt (Jer 42:7). Daniel prayed and fasted for three weeks before an angel visited him to give an answer to his prayer. The reason the angel gave for the delay in answering Daniel’s prayer is not one that is often discussed by believers. It involved opposition from spiritual beings.
The angel tells Daniel “Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.” (Daniel 10:12&13)
Old Testament writers express the the view that there is a war in progress and while God is well able to overcome, he is engaged in a genuine battle to hold back powers that would generate chaos and want to destroy creation. The New Testament intensives the picture with images of Satan as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
Psalm 13 opens with the cry “How long, O Lord…” The psalmist obviously feels forgotten. He accuses God of abandoning him, says he is wrestling with his thoughts and has a sense that he is being opposed by an enemy.
The honesty with which ‘despair’ is expressed in Psalm 13 is ‘gut wrenching’. Enemies are triumphing and celebrating, death seems near but there is an expression of hope and certainty at the end of the Psalm. This certainty is based on God’s character. The confession in verse 5 is “But I trust in your unfailing love;”
The Apostle John tells us that ‘God is Love’.The Psalmist is trusting God to be true to his character.
A delayed answer to prayer is not God saying ‘no’ or ‘wait a while’. There is a battle going on and sometimes answers are caught up in the battle, at other times we may have missed what God has already said. Whatever the case, let’s be people who are persistent in prayer, it is what Jesus taught through the parables of the persistent friend (Luke 11) and the persistent widow (Luke 18).
God’s love is dependable. Jesus says “So I say to you: ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11: 9&10.
Whatever it is it that you have been struggling with in prayer. Don’t give up. It may seem that God has forgotten, but even when it feels like ‘you have lost’ and everything has gone wrong, His love is still the same and can be depended on. God is with you.
For the director of music. A Psalm of David.
1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.
Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
Heavenly Father, it seems as though I have been praying about this issue for a very long time, but thank
Lord, I can’t see what is going on behind the scenes in the ‘spiritual world’ but your character has not changed. I can see what you are like by looking at Jesus.
Please help me to keep praying and not give up, even when it seems there is no hope.
Help me trust in your unfailing love and to praise you, for you have been good to me.