Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL (don't write about the song) (04/02/15)
TITLE: How Long, Oh Lord?
By Brenda Shipman
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deny it. . .
in all its forms.
At times, it comes as small
Things that disrupt my days –
a leaky dishwasher
break my heart
nor devastate my soul
nor rob me of my next breath or footstep.
But, in anger, I swat at them –
Ugh. Why does life have to be so hard?
How long, oh Lord? I cry.
And He says,
But this is not your true life.
Yes, but then. . .
there are the moments when a different suffering
knocks at my door -
news that comes like a death blow and
steals my breath
freezes my limbs
kills my dreams.
And I cry out – loudly,
Why this, Lord?
Why must I lose this?
It was so precious to me.
And He says,
But it is not your true life, child.
I close my ears, harden my heart and
Doubt – “He is not good.”
Worry – “He is not present.”
Envy others – “He is not wise.”
And as I turn inward,
my suffering increases tenfold.
I fix my gaze on that place where my precious dwelled,
but see only empty darkness. . .
feel only loss and heartache.
How long, oh Lord? How long?
He turns my face toward Him and says,
Look at Me, beloved, only Me. I am
Look at Me.
I am the way, the truth, and the life. . .
I will never leave you,
nor forsake you.
You can lose everything,
but you will never lose me.
But I hate this suffering, Lord, I really do.
I know, and it is natural that you hate it.
But, I will redeem it,
and I will redeem you.
This is not the end.
I will use this. . .
Fix your eyes on Me.
So, out of His great love,
He leads me to face
the hard reality of suffering,
and to meditate on His
I begin to recognize the losses as
divine fingers –
pointing to His steadfast character,
and see Him using the heartache
to capture my heart.
Placed between the already of my salvation
and the not yet of eternity,
an understanding of what it means to
“rejoice in the bones which God has broken”
I catch a glimpse of wellness –
even joy. . .here, in the
When I truly look and listen
I discover His
through all His creation. . .
Bird song and bouquets
Warm sun on green grass
Trees heavy with color
White snow clothing mountains.
I trace His footsteps over nature’s fields…
and it comforts me
in the midst of all that is ugly and broken.
His Word quickens my heart, infuses it with hope.
And the cross –
oh that blessed rugged symbol –
assures me that I will
never have to suffer as He suffered
never be separated from the Father as He was
never pay the unthinkable price for my sin.
Because, He. . .
already accomplished all of that…
He bids me to
choose wise companions for my journey -
those who have suffered well…
pilgrims from the past,
legacy lives on.
Their stories. . .
give me courage to stay the course
nudge me to a deeper trust in Him
grow compassion for the hurting.
He also says,
Look around you –
there are others in this world
who are. . .
Some with unspeakable pain.
Pray for them, help them, love them.
Be an agent of comfort.
How wise He is.
pain begins to lessen.
load seems lighter
heart grows hopeful
as He urges me to. . .
The moments of groaning
still cause me to cry,
How long, oh Lord?
And He is okay with that. . .
because He knows it increases my longing…
And in the midst of the pain,
there is the hope,
that one day
there will be no more struggle.
Doubt will turn to trust. . .forever.
Worry will change to peace. . .forever.
Envy will dissolve into contentment. . .forever.
And the halls of heaven will never hear the words
But will echo with the glorious proclamation,
“All is well…to Him be the glory forever.”
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