Have you ever asked that question of Him? Gracious, but I have. So many times I can’t remember them all. In fact, some of you might be asking God that question this very minute.
Actually, the sentiment comes from what I just read – Isaiah 6:11, in which Isaiah asks that of the Lord, and the answer isn’t comforting. “And He answered, until cities lie waste without inhabitants and houses without man, and the land is utterly desolate.”
Whoa. God didn’t say it was until the people thought they’d had enough, or one more week, or one more day. He said until the Earth is empty. That’s a really, really long time. How many of us can hang in there till then?
I know the context of this verse isn’t even about us in particular. I’m not taking this out of context to make the Bible say something it doesn’t. I’m just asking you, “Lord, how long?”
How long will my kid struggle at school? How long will my husband struggle at work? How long will my wife struggle to find a good friend? How long will I have to watch my mother suffer with death that won’t come? How long will it take me to forgive the man who shot my daughter? How long will I be poor? How long will it take to find someone who genuinely cares about me, and not my money?
How long, y’all? I can’t tell you that. It may be until tomorrow, or in 30 minutes, or – God forbid – the end of time. It’s not the “how long” we should be worrying about. It’s the “how” we should ask.
How, Lord, do I handle this hot mess? How, Lord, do I find joy (not happiness, which is an emotion that is fleeting, that comes and goes, but true joy – which isn’t always a feeling and is more often a choice)? How, Lord, do I wait for the answer?
Get out of your own head for a minute. Step back and look at the problem objectively – as critically as you can, considering how close you are to it. Now, here’s the fun part. Leave it there.
Yes, that’ right. Step away from the problem and don’t touch it, look at it, or think about it. For at least a few hours if you can. Come back to it. Nope? No answer yet? Leave it again. This time, leave at the foot of the Cross and leave it there.
It isn’t yours anymore – it is HIS.