When you feel like God has forgotten you

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you forget me, LORD? Forever?
Long enough, God— you've ignored me long enough.

How long will you hide your face from me?
I've looked at the back of your head long enough. Long enough.
Will it be forever? How long will you hide?

Psalm 13:1 (TNIV, CEB, MSG, & CEV)

Does your waiting seem forever, like it is never going to end?

Bob Sorge shares many helpful insights in his book, "The Fire of Delayed Answers: are you waiting for your prayers to be answered?" The book boils down to this statement, "Sometimes God delays the answers to our prayers to produce a greater maturity and fruitfulness in us."1

Four times, in Psalm 13, David says, "How long?" The delay has been long enough that it's begun to irritate, begun to seem too long for the soul. When we wait, a dying occurs in us. Things come out of our hands and are layed down and offered as sacrifice. We thought we were walking with God closely, but when God seems distant, when God delays coming, when the old ways don't work anymore; there then has to be a breaking, a death. In that brokenness process and death to self process, we end up with God only and we end up in God only.

When we are finally done with misconceiving God, of accusing him, of being mad, of pouting; we come back to simple trust in God, who is unfailingly loving. We also come down to the simple and solid theology of God is good. Yes, it feels like and looks like God is failing, but that's not true. Looks and feels like God is not good, but God is good. These are affirmatives, but not just affirmations. They are eternal forever truths.

The cry of "how long" is from the middle of something. The end may be death and release from a sick body. The end may be deliverance or healing. The end may be the answer. But, the "how long" cry comes in the middle of a process that God is watching over. Many Psalms and just out and out full on praise anthems, but many other Psalms are process songs and poems: open-hearted laments.

No matter where we are in our journey, with the exception of the 1% that are at the beginning or end, we are all in the middle. We never get to the point where we complete a 'level', then say to God, "thanks, I'll take it from here."

1. Ryan Jones, Fire Of Delayed Answers study guide. Available in Word or PDF.