03 Sep How Long, O Lord?
Photo Credit: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development, Modified and Licensed CC BY 2.0
Lord, the God to whom vengeance belongs,
O God of vengeance let your glorious justice be seen!
How long, O Lord?
How long will the wicked be allowed to gloat?
Psalms 94.1 & 3 (NASV)
“The conflict has left at least 250,000 people dead in the strategic heart of the Middle East and displaced more than 11 million overall, yet there is still no peace process, no discernible solution and no end in sight. Now, the humanitarian effort is failing, too, ground down by dwindling interest, falling donations and spiraling needs, said António Guterres, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.”
first a bit of
How Long Lord?
Into leadership vacuums during chaotic times, evil steps in. No question. This is the situation Syrians and Iraqis have been dealing with. Those with financial means put their families’ lives on the line when they hire human traffickers in desperate attempts to get to safety. They weigh their choices and consider the trafficker’s journey safer than staying. Human traffickers are very much a part of the current Syrian story that led to horrific accounts of particularly agonizing deaths last week.
Seventy-one decaying bodies were found in a truck on the side of the highway in Austria. Another 200 died on another sinking ship across the Mediterranean, many of them Syrian.
Juxtaposed reactions are deep compassion and anger. Our hearts cry out for justice with the question, ‘How long, O Lord?’ See guest perspective by a friend of The Syrian Circle.
A guest perspective by friend of The Syrian Circle
I’m reminded of Jesus in Mark 3.1-6 responding in anger to the injustice of the Pharisees. There is such a thing as righteous anger, and we should exercise it. It leads to healing and wholeness, as we see in Mk 3, unlike sinful anger.
Notice Psalm 94 (especially v3, and notice the context). The question, “How long, Lord,” is common in the Old Testament, particularly in the Psalms. We are not the first people to wrestle with God’s timing, wondering why he seems to delay his action, or judgment, or deliverance. The Psalmist asks in Psalm 74:10, “How long will the enemy mock you, God? Will the foe revile your name forever?”
I don’t understand. I don’t know why God does what he does, and why or how he chooses his timing. But I know God is in control. Ps 115:3 says, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (ESV). Does ALL that he pleases! As you look at other translations, it is quite clear that God wants us to know he has no restrictions, no restraints: “he does whatever he wishes” (GNB); “he does whatever pleases him” (NIV).
As I ask “how long, Lord?” I also cling to scriptures like these:
“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).
“The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples” (Ps 33:10).
“For the LORD Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” (Is 14:27).
And I remember that God’s ways are not my ways; his timing is not my timing. I’m learning the wisdom of the Psalmist.
Raise the issue.
Pray fervently and repeatedly.
Cry out for an end to this evil. Ask, “how long?”
But trust and worship God because he is sovereign over all.
- With the Psalmist we cry, ‘how long, O Lord’ will evil reign with war and terror? Let your justice soon bring peace. Use us as instruments of your peace and restoration.
- Again this week: Jesus, would you cause your church worldwide to be shocked and rocked with the information of what is actually happening to the Syrians. Forgive us, Lord, for not paying attention – for not responding and acting more powerfully much sooner.We ask that information about this situation go viral in the hearts of your Church’s leaders. Let them become your voice of compassion – but also the voice of justice to the world’s political leaders that are able to change the situation. Cause your Church to rise up with one voice in prayer, compassion and righteous anger to call for justice and immediate actions to “stop the crimes against humanity”.
- Go to the following link to watch the PrayerCast for Syria (4 minutes) and pray through the following prayer points. http://www.prayercast.com/syria.html
- Pray for a swift end to the horrific civil war with people of peace rising to leadership.
- Pray for Jesus to reveal Himself to the millions of Muslims displaced by the war.
- Pray for the Church to be protected and expanded amid hostility.
71 Dead Refugees Found in Truck on Austria Highway: Officials / NBC 8-28-15
Powerful Images of A Dead Syrian Child Washed Up On A Beach / Huffington 9-2-15
Hungary Train Station Is Gripped by Chaos as Migrants Remain Stranded / NYT 9-3–15
The Black Route of Death From Syria / Atlantic 8-28-15
As tragedies shock Europe, a bigger refugee crisis looms in the Middle East / Washington Post 8-28-15
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