Devotions for these times: “How long, O Lord? How long?”

Staff blogger: The Rev. Dr. Charles Yoost, Director of Religious Life & Church Outreach

Read Psalm 13

During this time of “sheltering in place” and quarantine, have you found yourself living the five stages of grief that Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and others say we all experience when we face loss?

First, there is denial. When I first heard the news, I couldn’t believe what I was being told. Surely it can’t be that bad! Then there was anger. We Americans are not used to being restricted and told what we can and cannot do. Who does Governor DeWine think he is? He cannot stop me from doing what I want! Then there is bargaining. Ok, I’ll wear a mask if that’s what it takes to escape the worst of it.

Has depression set in? A friend recently wrote on her Facebook page, “I am feeling it. A lot of anger about not seeing people, especially my grandkids. Anxiety that my loved ones will become ill. My mom is 90, and my youngest grandchild is 3. Fear that food will run out.”

Nearly 3,000 years ago, the Psalmist was having similar feelings. “How long, O Lord? How long must I bear pain in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all day long?”  How much more of this do we have to endure?

Mystic Simone Weil once wrote, “At the bottom of the heart of every human being, from earliest infancy until the tomb, there is something that goes on indomitably expecting, in the teeth of all experience of crimes committed, suffered, and witnessed, that good and not evil will be done to us. It is this above all that is sacred in every human being.”

The Psalmist “expects” God’s loving faithfulness. He even believes one day he will “Sing to the Lord, because (God) has dealt bountifully with me.” 

And so, we come to the fifth and final stage of grief as we accept the “new normal” for our lives. We look forward to being reunited with those we love. We believe that this situation will give way to better times, because we put our faith, not only in the medical community and in government officials, but in God who has the power to make all things new.

Like the Psalmist, we are shaken by current conditions and what we see and hear on the news. With the Psalmist, we trust in God’s steadfast love. Let us offer a prayer of expectancy to God, even during the current storm.

Prayer: Dear God, Like the Psalmist of old we are weary. With the Psalmist we cry, “How much longer?”  Help us to continue to place our hope and trust in you. Because you have been with us in the past, and are with us now, help us to believe you will be with us in the future, a brighter future than anything we imagine in our wildest dreams. Come to us now, and calm our anxious hearts, we pray. Amen.

One thought on “Devotions for these times: “How long, O Lord? How long?””

  1. Thank you so much for this post. I am grasping for line to grab hold of to anchor me during this time of denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. My faith and my prayers are what will help me survive. I was so grateful to read this and hearing that I am not alone in my thought processes. God Bless you and keep you safe.

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