God’s timing!

Have you ever written the question mark symbol several times after a question that you’ve written? If so, was it because you were giving emphasis, or was it out of frustration? We all encounter situations where we receive no answers to the questions we are asking. How many times have we cried out to the Lord asking, “How long is this going to continue? When are You going to answer? Have You forgotten me?”

David, whom God had anointed king, and who ran from King Saul for eight or nine years, vented about this issue in Psalm 13. With a horizontal focus, four times David pours out his lament, “How long?” He asks God if He has forgotten him or if God will let his enemy win over him.

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 ESV)

This has been my heart’s cry for over seven years as I have struggled with a personal situation. Nothing seems to change, and in some ways, things have gotten more difficult. There have been no answers to the hundreds of questions I have asked. Several of my friends are dealing with the “How long?” issue also. “How long will my child be a prodigal?” “How long will our family have to deal with a family member’s addiction?” And now, people around the world are asking, “How long will COVID-19 continue to impact our lives?”

 

 

Can you see David on his knees, petitioning before the Lord? He is reliving experiences and suffering, wondering if God is ever going to fulfill His promise to make him king over Israel.

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 ESV)

David says, “I have trusted.” It isn’t, “I will trust when I receive the answers.” It is as though David stands up, wipes the dust from his knees, lifts his arms high, and declares the truth he knows from his mind and heart. The truth is that God’s steadfast love had seen him through everything. By faith he trusted in God’s salvation, and by grace he knew God’s great mercy and faithfulness. Therefore, he could proclaim, “He has dealt bountifully with me.”

“Will I trust Him?” becomes the question I have to ask myself. God doesn’t need my help. You nor I can change an individual or their choices. We are only responsible for our own decisions. My “How long?” is teaching me to focus on His promise to be faithful (Hebrews 10:32) and that He will never leave me or forsake me (Heb 13:5b, 6). Even in the most challenging moments, He is always there!

As I cry out to Him, I find myself reading the Psalms and underlining every reference to His steadfast love and faithfulness. My gratitude list has grown, and I’ve learned to praise Him more. The “How long?” question has gradually turned into, “What are You trying to teach me through this situation?”

Friend, what questions are you asking today? How long have you been crying out to the Lord, waiting for Him to answer your prayers and work in a situation? Spend some time before the Lord as David did, and remember His steadfast love, faithfulness, mercy, and grace to you. While you wait, sing and praise the Lord!

This devotion, first titled “Question Mark, Question Mark, Question Mark,” by Laura Lee Leathers, appeared in Refresh Bible Study Magazine, June 2020 Issue. Reprinted by permission.

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