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?
Waiting in the silence of God can feel interminable. In seeking God after a difficult conversation, sitting for a week in the midst of illness, or experiencing a season of feeling spiritually dry, the silence is deafening. It may come in the midst of trying to develop new rhythms of life or we may be surprised by it in old, reliable ways of meeting God. In any case, this question echoes in our hearts and minds, “How long, Lord?” When we listen in solitude and silence, we wait on a God who has promised to be found. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” This is the promise of Yahweh to the exiles in Jeremiah 29 and his promise to us as his children, as those who call Jesus Lord. But, “How long, Lord” will we wait in the silence?
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.
Sometimes we feel this desperateness. Waiting feels like death. Our enemies feel overwhelming. In solitude and silence, we cry out for light to burst forth in the darkness. What lies do we listen to in solitude? When loneliness creeps in and our enemies speak? With what do we fill the waiting? The noise of our lives that fills the in-between moments, the distractions that keep us from the emptiness we fear, to shut it all out we also shut out the voice of God. Embrace the solitude. Sit in the deafening silence of God and wait.
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.
It is in the silence that our faith is stretched. Embracing the solitude is to trust that the love of God is unfailing and to rejoice in the salvation of God, that David anticipated and that we know in Jesus. Solitude is not loneliness, its being alone with God. Enter into that solitude anticipating the voice of God, resting in His goodness, trusting that even when there is silence, He is there, working on the heart, working on the soul. Notice that the psalmist does not receive an answer to “How long, Lord” yet rejoices anyway. We too can wait in the silence, crying out “How long, Lord” and still proclaim that the Lord is good and his love is unfailing.