How Long, O Lord?

article by Dr. Charles Stanley

No one likes delays. And nothing diminishes the pain we feel as the days pass and we continue to struggle with our hopes and fears. Whether it’s the hours that throw off our plans, the days and weeks that cause uncertainty, or the years we spend wondering if God will ever fulfill His promises to us, it’s human to feel frustrated, anxious, and as if our hopes are dying within us.

Why? Because we lack control over our circumstances. Someone else seems to be impeding our progress—deciding how the scant moments we’ve been given in this life will be spent and preventing us from enjoying the one thing we think will truly make us happy.

Like David, we cry out, “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?” (Ps.13:1).

I don’t know what it is you’re hoping for, but I know firsthand that waiting on God is one of the most difficult lessons to learn. I imagine that, like David, there’s a lot of pain in your heart as you wait. Perhaps you fear the Lord’s forgotten you. Maybe you can’t help but wonder, Why not me? What makes me so unworthy? Friend, though I know it hurts more deeply than words can express, please be assured that there’s always hope with our heavenly Father. As you go through your season of waiting, you must always remember that …

The Lord isn’t neglecting you and hasn’t forgotten you. He’s working in the unseen on your behalf (Isa. 64:4)—every single moment. Your responsibility is to set your heart on Him and trust that your life is safe in His all-powerful and loving hands.

You aren’t just waiting around, doing nothing. As you anticipate the Father’s instruction and intervention, continue serving Him as you carry out your daily business. Keep seeking, obeying, and having intimate fellowship with Him—even when circumstances don’t seem to be going your way. 

You’re not missing worthwhile opportunities. It may seem as if you are. But if God says “No” or “Wait” about some possibility before you, trust Him. Don’t try to make it happen. Rather, count on His faultless wisdom to protect you from choices that would ultimately harm you.

You’re not alone. Everyone you know is facing a delay in some area or another. Yes, you may look around and see people enjoying the blessings you desire. You may think you’re the only one struggling with your particular issue—the only one the Father hasn’t provided for. But realize those thoughts of humiliation and defeat come from your enemy, who’s always trying to isolate and destroy you (1 Pet. 5:8-9). In every nation, there are people just like you, waiting for similar blessings and experiencing the same feelings. In fact, throughout Scripture, there’s not a man or woman whom God used in a powerful way who didn’t first face a long and difficult time of waiting. So don’t despair … take it as the Father’s special favor and guidance in your life.