How Long O Lord? – Reflection on Psalm 35

Psalm 35:17 – “How long, O Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my life from the lions!”

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“I thought they were our friends,” she whispered quietly to her husband. “I know…” he responded, trying to comprehend where the relationship had gone sour.

“We were in their wedding and they were in ours! When Steve was in the hospital, you went and visited him every single day…” she continued lamenting all the times they had been there, good times and bad. The whole situation didn’t make any sense. They felt betrayed and attacked.

“I know dear,” gently trying to affirm her. “I dont’ understand either. They are angry at us for no reason at all…”

How Long Lord?

Maybe you’ve dealt with a relationship or situation where all you could pray was, “How long O Lord…” I don’t know exactly what David was facing, but from verses 11-14 and also 20-21 we learn that he was being attacked and wasn’t even sure why.

Some of the attackers may have had a relationship with David. David seems bewildered because those whom he fasted for, prayed for, and mourned over were now rejoicing that he stumbles and falls and looking for ways to trap him for no reason.

Overwhelmed

Both a prayer and a lament, David makes at least three requests; that God would fight on his behalf, his enemies would not be able to rejoice over his downfall, and that God would be his defense. David seems overwhelmed by his situation as he prays, “How long will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my life from the lions.”

Perhaps you know, probably too well, how it feels to wonder “how long Lord.” If you, like David, have ever asked God how long he was going to “look on” seemingly quiet, you are in good company. Perhaps while being attacked for no reason you have wondered, “how long Lord.” Maybe you have a dream, or desire, but life isn’t working out the way you want or hope, so you tearfully pray, “How Long O Lord…”

When we wonder why heaven is silent and we feel left on our own, the situation can be tough. Our eyes get clouded over with our pain, frustration, and disappointment, unable to see God’s presence. David, facing real enemies who wanted to do him harm and see him fail, cried out as he waited lamenting and wondering how long he would have to wait.

Better Days

Yet, David knew better days were ahead because of God’s faithfulness and looked forward to when those who desired his vindication would have great joy and “continually say, ‘Great is the Lord, who delights in blessing his servant with peace!’” David knew then, he would one day tell of God’s righteousness and of God’s praise all day long.

Few of us like to wait, yet, God is faithful. God may not be on our timetable, and we may not understand why we are waiting, or that we have to wait, but know this; better days are ahead. We may never understand, but trust doesn’t need understanding, trust only needs to know that the One we trust will see us through and loves us beyond belief.

While you wait, may you experience the presence of God. And may that be enough.

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