How long, Lord, how long? Psalm 6:3
Are we there yet? Not yet. Are we there yet? Not yet. That was the back-and-forth game we played on the first (and definitely not the last) sixteen-hour trip back home to Arkansas from Colorado when our children were young. Our oldest two kept the game alive and well, and if I had a dollar for every time they asked, well, I’d have a stack of dollars. It was a question my children were obsessed with, but I (the driver) was equally obsessed wondering, Are we there yet? And the answer was, Not yet, but soon.
Truth be told, most adults are asking a variation on that question, although we may not voice it out loud. But we’re asking it for that same reason—we’re tired, and our eyes have grown “weak with sorrow” (Psalm 6:7). We’re “worn out from [our] groaning” (v. 6) about everything from the nightly news to daily frustrations at work to never-ending health problems to relational strains, and the list goes on. We cry out: “Are we there yet? How long, Lord, how long?”
The psalmist knew well that kind of weariness, and he honestly brought that key question to God. Like a caring parent, He heard David’s cries and in His great mercy accepted them (v. 9). There was no shame for asking. Likewise, you and I can boldly approach our Father in heaven with our honest cries of “How long?” and His answer might be, “Not yet, but soon. I’m good. Trust Me.”
Why are you weary right now and wondering, How long, Lord? What is it about God that shows He’s trustworthy?
Father in heaven, the burdens of this world have me asking, “How long?” Thank You for welcoming such prayers, and please give me the strength to trust You in life’s journey.
The superscription of Psalm 6 identifies David as the author and instructs the psalm be sung “according to sheminith,” which the New Living Translation identifies as an eight-stringed instrument. This psalm is the first of seven penitential psalms (Pss. 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143) where the author confesses his sin and seeks God’s forgiveness and mercy. David wrote it at the time of a prolonged illness (6:2–3). He acknowledged that his sickness was a consequence of specific sins, and that God was disciplining him (v. 1). His plight had emboldened his enemies to launch a personal attack against him (vv. 7–8, 10). Exhausted by his sorrowing over his sins, David, in repentance and on the basis of God’s mercy (vv. 2, 4), asks for forgiveness, favor, and restoration. He concludes his prayer with the assurance that those who truly repent will receive God’s mercy (vv. 9–10).