How Long?

How Long?

How long? It is a question that echoes throughout the ages and haunts the mind of mankind.  The question is so universal that we are not surprised to find it scattered throughout the poems of every generation.

The most prolific songwriter of the 10th century BC was King David. David expresses emotions we have all experienced,

“I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears…I am weak…My soul is greatly troubled. But you, O LORD, how long?” – Psalm 6

One of the most prolific songwriters of the 20th century AD was Bob Dylan, who is still singing about the same question,

“How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man? How many years can some people exist before they’re allowed to be free? How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?” – Blowin’ in the Wind

How long? How long before things change? How long must I walk this current path? It is hard to inhabit the house of How Long. The Apostle Peter encourages his first century congregation with these words,

“Do not forget this one thing: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promises, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you.”  In other words, we can trust the slow work of God. – 2 Peter 3:8

I will leave you with words of encouragement from another poet, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

Trust in the Slow Work of God:

Above all, trust in the slow work of God. 

We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages. 

We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. 


And yet it is the law of all progress 

that it is made by passing through some stages of instability – 

and that it may take a very long time. 


And so I think it is with you – your ideas mature gradually – let them grow, 

let them shape themselves, without undue haste. 

Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time 

(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) 

will make of you tomorrow. 

Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.

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