When Lord, when will it finally happen? When will the pain in my heart and the longing of my spirit stop? The desires of my heart You have promised me, but the sky is gray and hope is gone. When will you rescue me?
Let’s be honest. The deep ache of unfulfilled hopes makes it hard to wait upon the Lord. I know that is what I am supposed to do, but how hard is it when we don’t see movement. We don’t see God’s hand in the midst of our issue. Everything is just bleak. There is so much that we can’t control, out of our hands that seem to be working against us. Yet, we hold these promises of God that He will appear and make things right again. The Bible says the righteous shall live by faith and that is great, but to me it simply reveals to me how often I am not righteous. I struggle in my faith and my question to the Lord is, “When?”
“Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”
I love this passage. “As surely as the sun rises, he will appear.” I have never woke early in the morning while it was still dark and feared the sun not rising. We don’t ever ask ourself, “Is the sun going to rise today?” Yet, we are taught here that our faith that God will appear should be the same as our faith and assurance that the sun will rise in the morning. Easier said the done, that’s all I’m saying. But I think the secret to this kind of faith is found in the context.
The people are far from the Lord. “Let us return to the Lord.” The battle against our flesh is to keep us out of the presence of God. Temptations, stress, fear, anger all work to keep us out of the presence of God because everything good emanates out of the very being of our God. When we are in His presence, He is able to give and we are able to receive. Outside of His presence, He can’t give to us what He desires and we are void of the good things He wants to give.
“After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us…that we may live in his presence.” That is great Lord, but why not show up on the first day of my suffering. In fact, why must I suffer at all. What is the purpose of the first two days? We have to understand that our flesh does not want God. God works to cut away our flesh. The flesh is every desire, craving, and temptation to seek after those things that God gives from sources other than God. When I seek joy and happiness by spending all kinds of time with my spouse, but never spending time with God, I am seeking what only God can give from someone other than God. I am not saying that our spouse cannot make us happy, but only temporarily. God is constant. If you want more stable joy, this can only come from God. Every other source is too fickle. When we seek the things of God from this world, it’s like living on a roller coaster of emotions. Our relationships go up and down, round and round, sometimes good-sometimes bad, until we are sick to our stomachs. But when we seek these things from the Lord, He never changes. The rollercoaster slowly becomes just a train ride across the field. Sure, there are occasional bumps, but no loopty-loops if you know what I mean. The Lord allows us to suffer, but for one purpose which is to make it clear in our mind how much better life is in His presence than out. This is true from everything in life. If you seek peace through the temporary serenity of a buzz from drinking, it will not last. But if you seek peace from the Prince of Peace, He never changes. If you seek wisdom from education, but without the Holy Spirit, you will be educated, but not so wise. Every….I said every good and perfect gift comes from God.
Every moment we are not in His presence; every moment we are separated from Him He suffers as a parent watching their child in pain. And we suffer from the lack of good things that only He can give. The Lord waits that we might not take His presence for granted. If He gave us everything we desired when we desired it, we would only go to Him when we needed something. The sooner we understand that everything good comes from being in His presence, the less time we spend suffering.
He does not simply leave us with a chastisement or command to return to Him or to remain in Him. He also gives us a promise. “As surely as the sun rises, he will appear.” We never know how long the night will last, but we can be sure that it won’t last forever and we can know that God will appear. The promise soothes the ache in our soul; helps us wait upon the Lord.
Living in West Texas where land is flat and sky is big, I remember watching the sun rise. The darkness would cover everything, then there would be a glow at a distance until finally, the sun would break through. It would suddenly break through and darkness would run and hide.
We ask when? When will the Lord appear? When will He rescue us? We simply don’t know, but we do know it could be any minute. At any moment, He will appear on the horizon and the darkness around me will run and hide. Like the rising of the sun, the Lord changes everything in a moment. With one phone call, one email, one incident and everything is different and it could happen at any moment.
Let’s work to endure the darkness of life with the assurance that God will appear at any moment just as the sun rises in the morning. We know that night will come again, but how glorious is the night when we are certain that God will appear. Nights will be filled with hope, peace, and praise. That is when we are breaking the power of the darkness. This is when we are free. This is when we render the enemy helpless. Even in the dark, I will praise Him because I am certain that He will soon appear. We will experience spiritual resurrection when we stop asking, “When Lord will you appear?” and take courage that He will appear soon. -Pastor Lee