“How Long O Lord, How Long?”

Pastor’s Note, Dec 14, 2012, Edwards, Colorado

I spent some time last night talking with my cousin. His wife’s cancer has returned. She’s only 46 years old. The doctors are using a new experimental drug on her. “Experimental” is another word for expensive and desperate. In my cousin’s words, “Well, it’s not a death sentence, but it doesn’t look good.” If that wasn’t bad enough, their child is in Afghanistan. My cousin spends the first part of his days first worrying about his wife and the second part worrying about his son.

As I was preparing to write this note, I got an email from a good friend of mine. He just found out that he has cancer too.

This happens every Christmas. Every Christmas I find out that someone I love is very sick. Every Christmas some new stressor enters our family’s lives. Every Christmas – I kid you not – the copy machine breaks. It broke yesterday.

So I’m sitting at my desk thinking and praying, “Why Lord? What’s next?” It’s like walking on egg shells waiting for the next moment of bad news. Psalm 13:1 keeps repeating in my head, “How long, O Lord? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” How much longer Lord?

John Warnke loaned me a book titled “How Long, O Lord”. Written by D.A. Carson, it discusses the Biblical perspective on suffering and evil. I started reading it last week. It’s a great book. Carson highlights 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 which states, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”

God comforts me so that I can comfort others. God allows hard times to happen to me so that later I can be a comforting resource to others going through the same affliction. Suffering will make you better or bitter. By His grace, God uses hard times to mold and shape us as His people. Carson succinctly writes, “Rightly accepted, pain cleanses us from self-centeredness, gives us insight into the fallen nature of this world, prepares us for death and Heaven, makes us remember the sufferings of Christ and others.”

Lord Jesus, thank you for your birth. Thank you also for your suffering on the cross for me and those I love. You conquered sin and death and evil. Thank you that I too can suffer to know more of your love and to better comfort those around me.

Celebrating His birth – Thankful for the Cross,

Pastor Jason Haynes, Edwards, CO