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? Psalm 13:1-2
The theme of waiting saturates the whole redemption story. God waited so long to send a Savior after the fall of Adam and Eve. Did they look for Jesus after they were banished from the garden? If they understood the prophetic words God spoke over them, they did.
In their lifetime, however, He didn’t come. He didn’t restore them to paradise. Things just got worse. Their descendants loved to sin and the serpent, the god of this world, appeared to be the one who controlled everything.
‘How long, O Lord?’ was the cry of God’s people. Suffering appeared to have the last word as they waited for their Messiah. It appeared that He was late and uncaring. There was a faithful remnant who offered proclamations of faith in the darkness. They endured the scourges of many enemies and the eventual captivity in Babylon. They saw the destruction of their beautiful temple, waited four hundred more years through an interminable period of silence, and bent under the tyranny of Roman rule before Jesus came. They didn’t recognize the Miracle when He came. They never guessed that their answer was a baby sleeping in an animal’s cradle.
Today, we still wait. Emmanuel came once, stayed a while, but promised that He would come again. Why is He, again, waiting so long to rescue? How can He restrain Himself from coming when evil is rampant upon the earth? Waiting has so many unanswered questions. The challenge for me is to lament well and find the spiritual grit to make proclamations of faith.
In every way you might be watching for His salvation this Christmastime, do not let Your trust in God be shaken. Rest in the mystery of His timetable. Grieve – but not without faith. Expect ~ but not with a sense of entitlement. Question ~ but not with a fist. History will always reveal that love prevailed in the waiting.
In my tears, give me the grace to trust You yet not live in denial and passivity. Amen