How long, O Lord? (Prayer Devotional for the week of September 6, 2015)

As I was getting close to finishing grad school, I remember the idea of writing my dissertation being very daunting. How do you just sit down and write 100+ pages? One of the best pieces of advice that I received during that time was: You don’t. You write a chapter, or a section of a chapter, or sometimes just a paragraph. You divvy up the project into bite-sized chunks to make it more manageable.


Sometimes, though, I would write and write and write, then look at my page count and realize it had barely budged. I would strum my fingers on the keyboard and ask myself, “How much longer will this take? How will I ever finish? I have so many people rooting for me; what if I fail?” Looking back in hindsight, of course, I’d like to tell that worrywart that she’s going to rock her dissertation; she’s going to graduate on schedule; and, she’ll even get a job offer of her dreams before it’s all said & done. 🙂


We’re only human, and it can be difficult to look beyond our current challenges and see the big picture in the future. If it makes us feel any better, we aren’t alone in our fretting. At least eight times in the book of Psalms (depending on the translation), the writer cried out, “How long?” to the Lord. King David would often beg God through poetry and song to spare his life when he was being pursued by his enemies, or forgive him when he felt God’s wrath hot on his neck for his sins. As I read the Psalms, I picture David cowering in a secret cave, scribbling his prayers by a campfire.


Do you realize that the same God who answered David’s prayers also listens to ours?


Is there something you are dealing with right now that you keep wondering how long until it is resolved? Don’t hesitate to take your concerns to the Lord, but don’t just dump them in prayer and then walk away. Spend time quietly listening for God to impress upon your heart what he might want you doing while you wait for the answer. Perhaps you are in a challenging situation at work, home, school, etc., and he wants to use you to be a witness to a specific person. Maybe your trial is a test of character, not a punishment. Whatever the situation, trust God to handle the details; you just be willing to listen and serve.

Worth Waiting For (Prayer Devotional for the week of December 15, 2013)

When I was a kid, we had a tradition of opening certain presents on Christmas Eve night. My brother and I loved the idea, of course, because Christmas Eve seems so much closer than Christmas morning when you are a child. Waiting can be hard! The presents look so pretty under the tree, and you can’t help but wonder if maybe it’s that thing you really want … or perhaps it’s just a package of socks … but either way, the anticipation is mounting and you can’t wait to rip open the box!

Waiting is difficult in a lot of ways. I remember being 12 and thinking that it was the longest year on record; it seemed to take forrrevvvver to turn 13. I remember the few days between final exams and graduation, when the hard work is finally over and anticipation peaks. I remember being in the last few weeks and days of pregnancy, when you can’t sleep and can’t see your feet … the waiting is exhausting.

The Gospel of Luke tells us about a man who had waiting down to a science. In Ch. 2, Luke gives us a glimpse into the life of Simeon. We don’t know much about him, except that he was faithful to the Lord and was regarded as a good man. We assume that he was elderly, since he had received a promise from God that he wouldn’t die until he saw the Messiah, but the Bible doesn’t say how old he was. One day, Simeon went to the temple in anticipation. He was sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, and he knew that his waiting time was over. He got to meet baby Jesus face to face and cuddle him in his arms. The promise that Simeon had lived for was coming true right before his eyes!

I wonder if Paul had someone like Simeon in mind when he wrote Colossians 2:6-7 (CEV), “You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following him. Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.” You and I may not have received a specific word from the Lord like Simeon did, but we do have something special, and that is hope. We have hope because of that little baby cradled in Simeon’s arms. We have a promise of eternal life with our Lord and Savior, Jesus. That is something worth waiting for!