How Long, O God?

Lately, I’ve been playing the waiting game. I’ve found that it’s my least favorite game of all time.

Since graduating college back in May, I’ve been scoping job opportunities that are full-time and offer benefits like insurance coverage. I’ve applied and been rejected from positions more times than I care to count. There are possibilities on the horizon, but no guarantees. 

The waiting is especially difficult because I’m at a point in life in which I’m ready to move forward. Once Josh and I both have steady, full-time work, we’ll be in the perfect position to become homeowners. As I pray for God’s will to be done, my apartment and my bank account feel suffocatingly smaller. I get my hopes up, see them dashed, and throw Jesus a temper tantrum. One question restlessly haunts my mind:

How long must I wait, God?

In answer, He directed me to Psalm 13 in my personal quiet time. “How long, O Lord?” King David laments, “Will you forget me forever?” 

He had my attention.

As I read through the Psalms, I used a companion devotional, “Sing a New Song: A Woman’s Guide to the Psalms” by Lydia Brownback, which I highly recommend. She wrote, “When we are suffering, our primary concern is so often simply relief from trouble, but God is so much more concerned with what he accomplishes in us while we wait.”

“When we are suffering, our primary concern is so often simply relief from trouble, but God is so much more concerned with what he accomplishes in us while we wait.”

Lydia Brownback

Lydia Brownback

That sentence hit me right between the eyes. For half a year, I have been asking the wrong question. So instead of asking ‘how long?’ I shifted my perspective:

What has God done in me through the waiting?

Once the storm in my heart quieted, I came to the same conclusion as the psalmist:

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:5-6 

Understanding every move God makes requires no trust. If I could always trace His hand, I wouldn’t need faith. Through the waiting, He has shown me what it means to trust Him. He has shown me that it is okay when His plan doesn’t look like mine. 

God has also led me to check my own heart; do I want the things I want for His glory, or is it about my own pride? The truth is, both. I want money so I can be generous– but also so I can be comfortable. I want a home so that I can open it to others in Christian hospitality– but also for a sense of satisfaction, a feeling that I have arrived in this world. Yet in my impatience and discomfort, he has shown me that He is a provider, taking care of me and Josh in leaner times. I have to conclude then, that the scripture is right when it says that unless the Lord builds the house, in vain its builders strive. 

I’m a word nerd; I love to analyze the meaning of each word in scripture. In the psalms, I have found several instances in which the writer uses a verb tense that we don’t have in English: prophetic perfect. Prophetic perfect tense is when the writer writes about something God has not yet done as if He has already done it. What faith! In the waiting, God has taught me to live  in the prophetic perfect tense. “Lord, thank you for providing,” I pray, whether the bill I am stressing over has been paid or not. “God, thank you for placing me where you want me,” I whisper, whether I have yet landed where I am meant to be or not.  

Knowing these things, I am free to celebrate the waiting, because in it, I get to know Christ even better. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

A Website.

%d bloggers like this: