There is a reason multiple psalms include the phrase, “How long, O LORD?”
The psalms were created to put words to what the people of God were thinking, feeling, and experiencing, and directed them to sing together in worship of the LORD (the personal name of the God who had entered into a covenant with them).
The Psalms which include the phrase “How Long, O LORD?” typically center on wanting God to end the misery and despair that the people of God are experiencing, and to right that which is broken in the world, because their threshold of suffering had been overrun.
This has been a horrible week.
In Baton Rouge, white officers shot Alton Sterling, a black man, during an arrest attempt. The officers had reason to believe Mr. Sterling had a gun. The videos of the shooting, which are all over social media, have caused great outrage across the nation. Certainly, we don’t know all the details.
In Minneapolis, a white officer shot Philando Castile, a black man, during a police stop, apparently after he reveled that he had a concealed weapon and a license to carry. The video of the shooting, which is all over social media, has caused great outrage across the nation. Certainly, we don’t know all the details.
Last night in Dallas, five police officers, charged with protecting and serving their city, were gunned down and killed by well-positioned snipers while monitoring a peaceful protest to these other two incidents. Many other police officers and civilians were injured.
So, this morning, I cry out, “How Long, O LORD?”
How long, O LORD, my personal and loving Father, will we live in a nation that ended slavery 150 years ago, enacted civil rights legislation 50 years ago, but continues to face deep and painful division and suspicion along racial lines that is causing the deaths of people created in your image?
How long, O LORD, my personal and loving Father, will black men, and women, live in fear of those who are charged to protect them? How long will black people be subject to traffic stops that occur just because they are black? How long will black people be treated with suspicion that heightens the possibility of over-reaction? How long will parents mourn children, children mourn parents, and siblings mourn siblings who have been shot and killed in situations that did not need to end that way?
How long, O LORD, my personal and loving Father, will our police officers take to the streets fearing for their lives during routine traffic stops and home visits? How long will the men and women who serve and protect us be treated with disrespect and disdain? How long will officers be called to run headlong into violence and destruction in order to protect the lives of others? How long will the families of officers have to grieve the deaths of their loved ones?
How long, O LORD, my personal and loving Father, will neighborhoods of Chicago be a battle ground for a gang war that has taken hundreds of lives of image bearers over the recent years, including many innocent children?
How long, O LORD, my personal and loving Father, will we wonder if someone is going to shoot our children, or us, while they are at school, or at the mall, or at the movies?
How long, O LORD, my personal and loving Father, will we have to watch the people you created killing each other, all around the world, for all manner of reasons?
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Waiting with you,