How Long?

In our limited perspective as humans where 70 years is a long time, to wait for a year seems like a long time.  There are studies that say our perceptions of a long time and a short time are changing.  People in the west now think of a second as a long time (see ).  The Lord develops patience and trust in us as we learn to wait longer periods of time for justice to be done.  However, like the whining children that we are, we ask “How long?”  It is the cry of a desperate heart, but God responds in his own good time.  It was the same 3,500 years ago, and it will be the same until the end of time.

Psalm 13

 For the director of music. A psalm of David.

 1 How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?
   How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
   and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
   How long will my enemy triumph over me?

 3 Look on me and answer, LORD my God.
   Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
   and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

 5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
   my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the LORD’s praise,
   for he has been good to me.


  1. Why do you think the psalmist repeats, “How long?”
  2. To what does the psalmist change focus?
  3. How is this a lesson in how to be patient?
  4. When do you cry out, “How long?”
  5. How can you learn from the psalmist how to be both authentic and patient?

Going Deeper

How do U2 in their 1983 song Sunday Bloody Sunday, show the same longing as David when they long to see the end of the violence in Northern Ireland?  How has God resolved the issues in Northern Ireland?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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