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Monday, December 15, 2008

How Long?

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple... Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me." And He said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' ... Then I said, "Lord, how long?"
Isaiah 6:1,8-11 (NKJV)

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength;

they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. (James 5:7 NRSV)

Inspired by the glorious vision of God asking for a servant, Isaiah boldly responded "Here am I! Send me!" As the prophet understood the burden of ministry laid upon him, he did not shrink back. But he did ask, "Lord, how long?"

Isaiah survived four kings before dying a martyr, sawn in two by King Manasseh. He would come to well understand the renewed strength in "waiting upon"—Hebrew qavah—the Lord. Qavah denotes both to intertwine and to wait with hope. It might be described as lying in wait together.

Waiting undergirds birth, dying, and all the trials in between as the Lord accomplishes His purposes in our brief lifetimes. We wait through many trials: sickness and healing, economic hardship, bad marriages and broken relationships, sanctification from sin through the ever-popular character building.

We are told to be patient until the coming of the Lord. Meanwhile, both
the Lord and His people wait—together.

Lord, how long shall You and Your people wait? How long before Your plans and purposes are accomplished and Your promises are fulfilled? Our spirits groan together with Your Spirit. Please teach us to qavah with You. Please renew our strength as we trust Your perfect timing.

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