It has been my experience that a lot of people claim they have a hard time memorizing scripture. I don’t know about you, but I have found myself inadvertently quoting scripture a lot lately. Specifically, the first part of Psalm 13 which begins with, “How long, Lord?”
Like many people, I assumed social distancing measures were going to be temporary. However, four weeks soon stretched into eight. At this point it could be several weeks or even months before we can safely return to something that begins to approach normal. This time of social distancing and disruption is going to last far longer than any of us truly want to deal with. I imagine for a lot of people they really want an answer to the question “How long, Lord?”
This is a valid question in the Bible, because when we look at the scripture we see that God’s timing is rarely as quick as our timing. Psalm 13 is a Psalm of David. From the time David was anointed to be king to the time he became king was somewhere over fifteen years. From the time Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah to the time Jesus came was centuries. After Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus he spent up to three years before he was able to start his missionary work. Time and time again we see in scripture that God always shows up, God always does what God promised, and God always provides. Yet, we also see that waiting on God requires patience.
We struggle with patience today. How could we not? Due to technology we can cook food in a microwave in less than a minute, we can get the answer to almost any question via google in less than a second, and we can buy just about anything we could possibly want and have it delivered in two days with free shipping. Given how acclimated we are to instant gratification it is no wonder we are so impatient with a process that has already dragged on for weeks.
Despite our desire to have things resolve quickly, the Bible continues to advocate patience. Psalm 13 begins with “How Long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?” However, it ends with “But I trust in your unending love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.”
Perhaps this is why patience is such a huge theme in the Bible. If we do not have the time to wait, then we never learn to trust in God’s unending love. If we are not patient, we do not pause long enough to recognize how God has been good to us. If we are not forced to stop and be still, then we do not take the time to rejoice or sing the Lord’s praises. I get the desire to return to normal. I would love to browse the shelves of a bookstore or sit in a Buffalo Wild Wings surrounded by twenty TVs broadcasting different sports.
However, that is not our current reality. Instead of protesting and resisting what is, may we instead use this to be patient. May we wait in patience. In doing so I believe we will find that even though we might be socially distant, God is still close. We might even find our anxiety of what is going to come next replaced by trust in the God we know is in control. May we wait patiently and during this time may we learn to rejoice ever the more and continue to sing the Lord’s praises.