How long, O Lord, how long??

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David, presumably due to sin in his life, is undergoing painful and dark times. He cries out to God for mercy, and asks that the Lord rescues him.

“How long, O Lord, how long??” Such a plaintive cry that I know has passed from my lips all too recently, even to this day.  His heartfelt plea resonates deeply with those who have walked the dark nights of the soul. Oh great God, give us rest!

David describes how he spends all night weeping, wetting his couch with his tears. When you’re in a season of despair, it seems like there’s nothing that can make it better, that you just have to hope and pray that this season ends before it really becomes too much to bear. But the Lord allows these seasons to teach us to walk with him through the pain, to lean on him precisely because we can’t endure it on our own. And perhaps these times do allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us and convict us of sin that needs to be eradicated, that is drawing us out of right standing with God. So do cry out to him, he hears you, as David says later in the psalm. And hold fast to the promises of God, to his steadfast love.

“It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” -a demon, the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

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