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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Long enough

What is your "long enough"?  Most of us have some capacity for endurance, whether it be with the distance we walk, the amount of waiting we can tolerate, or the pain we are willing to experience before we resort to a means of relief.  "Long enough" is not a measure which is the same for each of us, but rather is a unique measure based on where we are emotionally, physically, spiritually, and even "relationally".  Sometimes our "long enough" is shortened because of emotions being on edge - too much coming at us at one time and stress building up within.  At other times, the same things could roll off our back without an issue, just because we were more "in balance" with our emotional stressors.  There is nothing more disheartening, though, than to come to the place of "long enough" when you are waiting on God to answer some need in your life.  In those times of "long enough", we want immediate relief, so any amount of waiting seems like an eternity and carries with it a huge "weight" of pressure.


Long enough, God—you’ve ignored me long enough.  I’ve looked at the back of your head long enough. Long enough I’ve carried this ton of trouble, lived with a stomach full of pain.  Long enough my arrogant enemies have looked down their noses at me.  Take a good look at me, God, my God; I want to look life in the eye, so no enemy can get the best of me or laugh when I fall on my face.  I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms—I’m celebrating your rescue.  I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m so full of answered prayers. (Psalm 13 MSG)


It should not surprise any of us that one of the first places our minds go when we are at this place of "long enough" is this idea of God ignoring us. Somehow we equate waiting, or even what we think is the slightest delay in relief, as his "ignoring of us".  The furthest thing is the case, though, for it is totally inconsistent with God's character to "ignore" his children.  He cannot "ignore" issues we create, nor those we face because others have created them for us. He can be silent for a period, and this is probably where we get the impression he is "ignoring us".  Silence is not ignorance - it is simply God waiting to speak!

How do you know if you have reached your "long enough" point?  Since this is not the same for each of us and is as varied as the issues we face, there is not a cut and dry answer to this question.  There are "hints" we might be at that point, though.  One such hint is the tendency to "feel" like we are "talking to the hand" when it comes to our times of conversation with God.  If you are not familiar with that saying it means we think God has erected some barrier to our being heard - we are talking to his hand - totally missing his ear and definitely not affecting his heart!  Again, this is the furthest thing from his character, because God's intensity of love for his creation could never allow him to turn a deaf ear or be unmoved in his heart by their need.

Another hint of reaching our "long enough" is the tendency to have "frazzled" emotions.  When we are at the end of our rope, emotions are kind of like live wires.  We just don't know what will set us off the next time, and we cannot seem to move beyond those raw emotions.  Emotions are definitely "real" and cannot be denied.  We may find ourselves at our "long enough" point with emotions ranging from rage to depression, fear to apathy, or even sorrow to the depths of unyielding grief.  The further we go "into" our emotions, the worse the "long enough" appears to us.  There is a sensitivity to our situation which almost gets "blown out of proportion" simply because of the magnitude of our emotions.  This doesn't mean the circumstances aren't real, important, or specific to us.  It just means we may be unable to move out of them because our emotions are too frazzled to "deal" with them any longer.

Perhaps one of the most "telling" hints we have come to this place of "long enough" is feeling like the circumstances will never change - this is the way it is always going to be.  Some might call this losing hope.  In essence, all expectation is gone - there is no reasonable solution to the issues at hand, so we interpret this as being "hopeless".  This may be the easiest place to begin to bring change into the circumstances, though.  For every moment of "hopelessness" is a moment whereby we can begin to change our focus.  A lack of hope is oftentimes based on the reality of our focus - focus on the issue(s) long enough and they become insurmountable (a mountain in our path incapable of being scaled).  Focus on the next step in front of us one by one and the mountain becomes nothing more than a path we travel to get to the other side!

Regardless of why we might be at our "long enough" point today, we have the opportunity to express ourselves to the one who actually cares about our "long enough" moments.  God is not put off by our admittance of this feeling it has been "long enough" for us to be dealing with whatever it is.  In fact, he is probably just waiting for us to bring him our "long enough" and let him become our "more than enough".  Just sayin!