How Long, O Lord?

Years ago, someone said that we were living in the “instant era.” Meals that used to take hours to prepare, could now take minutes. Baked potatoes went from an hour in the oven to 4 minutes in the microwave. Cakes from scratch changed from individual ingredients to a cake mix where we add eggs, oil, and water. Time saved. 

We can send emails which can be received in seconds instead of writing a letter and sending it by USPS, called snail mail for a reason. 

Instead of making a trip to a bank or business, we can complete our transactions within seconds and be emailed the documents we need to sign and return. We can deposit a check by taking pictures with our phones. We can Venmo our payments. No more handwritten checks or deposit slips.

We can do everything instantly. However, God’s response to our prayers may not always be instantaneous. 

Back in 1994 I bought my parents’ home. My daughters and I lived with them, but Dad was showing signs of Alzheimer’s and they could no longer continue the upkeep. As I took ownership, I needed to do repairs and improvements. The siding had some hail damage, the roof was old, the windows were not keeping out the cold, and the doors were drafty. I asked God if He would help me be able to replace the gray siding for white siding with green shutters and green window boxes with red geraniums, changing the entire look of the house.

 I saved up and began buying one or two windows each year. My brother did the labor installing them. The house became warmer! When all 13 windows were replaced, I realized the doors needed to be changed before the siding began. The gaps with the smaller windows made my home look sad. In 2019, I was hoping to have the siding done. That’s right, 25 years after buying the house I was going to start the dream for the outside of my home. 

But then, we had a big thunderstorm and I noticed shingles in my garden. The siding had to be postponed as the roof was replaced. Then in the spring of 2021, my brother started replacing my siding with a beautiful white siding. He did most of it by himself, but was not feeling well. He almost finished the garage and two sides of my house. A few months later, he was diagnosed with cancer. 

This fall, several men from my church finished the job. I came home one day and saw my home as I had dreamed for 27 years. Only the window boxes and geraniums are missing. Perhaps next spring.

Twenty-seven years of waiting. Each time a window was replaced, I thanked God. Noticing that my heating bill went down, I thanked God. Choosing the window design that I loved was a joy. Enjoying time with my brother (which would be my last on earth with him), I saw God’s care. Seeing God provide the money, often through my church family and friends, was a treasure. Having men from my church step in when my brother could no longer do the work was beautiful. Seeing it close to the finish brought tears. All reminders that God is good, all the time. He knows why it takes so long. He used time to teach me, remind me, provide for me, and encourage me over and over.

“How long, O Lord?” Psalm 13:1. 

It’s not always a lament, especially when there is joy in the journey.

I pray that you know the joy of waiting.

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About Lynnette Goebel

Lynnette is the Director of Operations at RHMA Headquarters in Morton, Illinois. She has attended the same small-town church for most of her life. She adores her pastor’s wife.