How Long, Lord?

I haven’t written a full blog in approximately… forever.

Part of the reason for this is because we have hit the phase in which parenting has become a little more hands on than usual (guess who is beginning to crawl???)

But also because, honestly, I’ve been feeling a little discouraged. Besides the birth of my son this year, which was amazing since babies are basically amazing, everything else this year seems to be… well… disappointing, to put it mildly. Everything is (still) shut down over here, beyond essential services, and I feel like a broken record to my children:

“No, you can’t do ___ because it’s shut down.”

“No, you can’t do ___ because it’s been cancelled.”

“No, I don’t know when/if school will be opened up.”

And when the inevitable question arises (“Why, Mommy?”) the answer is always the same.

Coronavirus.

I asked my four-year-old son what he wanted for his birthday, and he asked if we could end the coronavirus for his birthday. That was in May. It’s August now. He is tired. I am tired. Everyone is tired.

“How long, Lord?”

These words, uttered in so many psalms before, keep coming back to me. The words, as a cry to the Lord, are succinct and perfect as they are, but of course the psalm adds so much richness to it that I can’t help but share:

NABRE

Psalms 13

2How long, LORD? Will you utterly forget me?How long will you hide your face from me?3How long must I carry sorrow in my soul,grief in my heart day after day?How long will my enemy triumph over me?

And of course, this makes me think of this artwork…

The Temptation in the Wilderness, by Briton Riviere, c. 1898. Guildhall Art Gallery, London, United Kingdom.
The Temptation in the Wilderness, by Briton Riviere, c. 1898. Guildhall Art Gallery, London, United Kingdom.

It is a picture of Jesus in the wilderness, just before he is tempted. It is stark and desolate and empty. It is when He fasted and prayed during His forty days in the wilderness. Behind Him, the sky is aglow in what looks to be a flaming sunrise, which only seems to heighten the feeling of emptiness. After all, the sunrise comes and seems to scorch the earth, which already seems completely barren.

And aren’t we in a strange wilderness right now? Doesn’t it feel like we are alone? This is an incredibly isolating period for most of us! Don’t we all feel as if we are carrying a sorrow in our soul?

Surely, Jesus must have felt the same when He was in the wilderness. Otherwise, why would Satan be so bold as to tempt Him, let alone approach Him?

How long, Lord?

The psalm doesn’t end in a sad note, though. The psalm ends triumphantly! David ends the psalm, saying:

NABRE

Psalms 13

6But I trust in your mercy.Grant my heart joy in your salvation,I will sing to the LORD,for he has dealt bountifully with me!

And it seems to me that the antidote to this whole present suffering is we need to trust in the Lord. Which is easier said than done! It seems hard to trust in anything right now when things seem so horribly uncertain and when suffering seems to surround us in a myriad of different ways.

And yet, Christ has never promised a life without suffering. Christ has never promised us a life without pain or difficulty. On the contrary! The gospel is full of Christ gently informing us that there is pain to come in our lives. The only thing Christ has asked of us is for us to carry our crosses and to follow Him. And what has He promised us?

Salvation.

And so, “Grant my heart joy in your salvation” has become my prayer as of late.

And, even though life pretty much is difficult for everyone, may we nevertheless cling to the Lord and sing to Him in this strange and difficult times.

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of four, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer.

8 thoughts on “How Long, Lord?

  • August 23, 2020 at 10:13 am
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    Thank you for your honesty in sharing this. It’s really hard sometimes! I can only say that it’s encouraging to hear from you and to read this. Keep it up (if you can, but no pressure)!

    Reply
    • September 12, 2020 at 8:03 pm
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      Thank you so much for your kind words! I will definitely keep writing… it helps keep me grounded! But oh man, let’s just say that there have been more unfinished drafts lately!

      Reply
  • August 23, 2020 at 1:24 pm
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    Amen. You nailed it. Our Hope remains in the Lord!

    Reply
  • August 23, 2020 at 6:38 pm
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    Yes, this has become for me a time to DECIDE
    where my focus needs to be…in the flood of evil trying to swim and stay afloat, or with my attention focused on trusting God and knowing Him better. Noah was with his family in the ark because of his faith, and he had quite a long wait there. Then one day the sun arose on dry ground, and I imagine he came out of the ark with a heart like Job’s singing new praises to God’s majesty and love.

    Reply
    • September 12, 2020 at 7:55 pm
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      This is so true and I love your reflection! It’s so easy to get caught up in the storm, and really, there’s not much we can do in these strange times. We just need to choose to cling to God like He is our life raft!

      Reply

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