Thursday, June 20, 2024

God Acts

How long, O Lord?

They are words most of us resonate with, as we have spent so much of our lives praying desperately for the Lord's intervention and wondering when - or sometimes, even if - He will move. When will He do something? When will He set things right? When will He answer us? How long, O Lord, must we wait?

We have come up with all kinds of ideas to satisfy our souls when we don't think God is moving quickly enough. We have told ourselves that we just don't know what is truly good, so what we are asking for is actually not what's good for us. We have told ourselves that the timing is wrong, that God will act when it is time for Him to act and not a second sooner. We have told ourselves that God simply doesn't care, that this isn't the kind of thing that He's interested in. We have told ourselves that God is testing us, that we have to get through this to "pass." We have told ourselves that God is punishing us, that we deserve whatever bad things He's not seeming to rescue us from. We had told ourselves that God is strengthening us, that this is going to prepare us for something else He wants us to do later. We have told ourselves all kinds of things, ad nauseum, to try to make ourselves feel better, but the truth is...none of these things do.

Rather, all that these things tend to do is to call into question everything that we think we know about God until the only logical conclusion we can reach is a nagging question that we can't quite let go of - is God even good?

But the Bible tells us who God really is - that He is good, yes, and that He answers us. He is coming. He is doing something. 

Solomon reflected this knowledge in the prayer that he prayed over the Temple when its construction was finally complete. If you remember this prayer, it takes up the entirety of the very long chapter of 2 Chronicles 6, and in it, Solomon mentions several groups of persons by name. Israelites, non-Israelites, the faithful, the repentant, the backsliders. Seekers. Everyone. And the structure in each breath of the prayer is the same:

Lord, when You hear, act. 

When You hear this person, respond. When someone prays this way, answer them. When we turn to You, let us see Your face. 

The only reason that Solomon prays a prayer like this one is because he knows this is who God is. He knows this is how God responds. He has learned, through his own journey of faith and the story of his people, that this is a God who answers. Whenever He hears His people, He can't help but come. 

In the Garden. In the wilderness. On the mountain. In the Temple. On the shores of Galilee. In the streets of Jerusalem. Over and over and over again, the Bible tells us that we have a God who hears...and acts. Who moves. Who comes. And Solomon takes all this wisdom to heart and prays to this God...the God he knows the Lord really is. 

So if it doesn't seem like God is coming, He is. If it doesn't seem like He's answering, He is. If it doesn't seem like He's acting, He is. He can do no other. Our God is a God who hears...and acts. 

May we pray with such confidence. 

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