How Long, Oh Lord?

Posted: April 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

how longWhy does God allowing suffering? This is perhaps the most challenging question we can ask. If God is all loving as well as all powerful, then why would He permit such pain and suffering in our lives? Or to put it another way, where is He when we need Him most?  This is exactly what David asked…

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. 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 ESV)

Along with asking why and crying out to the Lord how much longer, the other question we need to ask is simply what to do. Which is to say that if suffering is an inevitable reality in this fallen world we live in, then what are we to do in the face of it? Dr. Ed Welch offers the following wisdom, to begin with…

Don’t be surprised by suffering (1 Pet. 4:12).

The Son suffered, so do those who follow the Son. You will not be spared the sufferings that the world experiences, but you will participate in them, both for the world’s benefit and your own.

Live by faith, see the unseen (Heb. 2:2).

Normal eyesight is not enough. Your eyes will tell you that God is far away and silent. The truth is that he is close—invisible—but close. He has a unique affection for fellow sufferers. So get help to build up your spiritual vision. Search Scripture. Enlist others to help, to pray, to remind you of the Truth. Ask the God of comfort to comfort you.

Suffering will reveal what is really in your heart.

It will test you (Jam. 1:2). Where do you turn when tested? Do you turn toward Jesus or turn inward?

God is God, you are not (Job 38-42).

This is important. Humility and submission before the King can quiet some of your questions.

Confess sin.

There is nothing new here; it is a regular feature of daily life. Yet it always helps you to see the cross of Jesus more clearly. It is the quickest way to see the persistent and lavish love of God (Heb. 12).

Keep an eye out in Scripture for the Suffering Servant.

He has entered into your suffering, and you can enter into his. (Isaiah 39-53, John 10-21)

Speak honestly and often to the Lord.

This is critical. Just speak, groan, have someone read you a psalm and say a weak, “Amen.”

Expect to get to know God better while in this wilderness.

That is how he usually works with his people (Phil. 3:10-11).

Talk to those who have suffered, read their books, listen to them.

You are not alone. Insist on being moved with compassion as you hear other stories of suffering.

Look ahead.

We need spiritual vision for what is happening now and for where the universe is heading. We are on a pilgrimage that ends at the temple of God (Ps. 84).

 

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 (ESV)

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