Friday was a day that started out pretty frustrating for me. I was itching to get out to Rowe Woods for when they first opened the gates because it was going to be my last time to be there right about sunrise because of the time change on Sunday. Unfortunately, getting out the door took longer than I expected. Then the closest stoplight near our house had one of those times that it just turns red as I was pulling up and it is a light that takes FOREVER to change.
Then the tire pressure light came up on the dash and noticed that, because of the cold, all 4 tires were low so I needed to stop at a gas station to take care of those.
Then traffic on I-275 was slow. Through all of this, I found myself getting more and more annoyed as the morning went along. And it was into that sense that I listened to PBH’s musical offering of Psalm 4.
In that one song…17 times…how long…how long…how long.
But in the midst of the “how long” there came something of a blessing that would not have been possible had I not been delayed as I was. It came in what I saw when I finally did arrive at Rowe Woods.
Had I arrived earlier, these moments would not have been as they were when I did get there.
The song ends with “but i can be sure of this // the lord will answer when i call to him…”
Even in the midst of the “how long”s, there is promise of God’s presence and hope. The Psalm itself says in verse 3 that “the LORD hears when I call to him” and then ends with a statement about being able to lie down and sleep in shalom.
These moments were moments of shalom for me after the impatience I was feeling as I started my day. Here’s the thing – I was tempted to just shortcut the morning and skip out on the hike and just go for a quick walk somewhere closer. But I am grateful that I stayed the course and went to the place to which I needed to go.
It is absolutely natural and normal to lift up the laments of “how long” when we are facing difficult times. It isn’t a lack of faith to lament or question. It isn’t a sin to ask God “how long.” But we need to stay on the path even as we ask the questions. To me, that is one of the beauties of the Psalms because they give us voice for these moments.