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How Long, Oh Lord?

Emotions.   Passions.   Sorrow.  Joy.  Loss.  Birth.

I’ve been on the road for much of past four months—Estonia, Ethiopia, California, North Carolina, South Africa, Colorado, with brief stops at home.   My body doesn’t know what time zone it is in. My stomach doesn’t know what country it is in.  Sleep doesn’t know where to find me.

And during this time of much travel, there has been great emotional upheaval.  A divorce in my very family.  Sweet time with my sisters.  A splintering among friends.  The birth of my newest grandson.  My heart and my mind struggle to absorb the wide swings of my feelings.  Such pain! Such joy!

Yet my ministry goes on.  I write.  I speak.  I meet.  I care about people.  I listen, I pray, I encourage.   My passions for full engagement of women in the cause of Christ, for prodigals to return to their Father and receive mercy, for people to know and love Jesus, for women and girls to be free from sexual abuse and trafficking continue to vie for my attention….too many passions to try to tackle.

How long, Oh Lord?

I am weary.  I think I need time to rest, to pray, to think, to listen, to grieve, to rejoice.  To trust You.

Once again, the emotions of David serve me well:

My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long? (Psalm 6:3)

How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13:1)

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? (Psalm 13:2)

Relent, LORD! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants. (Psalm 90:13) (from Moses)

How long must your servant wait? (Psalm 119:84)

David responds:

The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;

    the Lord accepts my prayer. (Psalm 6:9)

I trust in your unfailing love;

    my heart rejoices in your salvation.

 I will sing the Lord’s praise,

    for he has been good to me. (Psalm 13:5-6)

And once again I return to the verse I have rested in over and over:

I am the Lord.  In its time I will do this swiftly. (Isaiah 60:22)

Still I plead:  May it be time.

What about you?  About what are you asking “How long?”

C2012 Judy Douglass

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Photo by David Pezzoli

I managed to take in some of the live streaming of the Passion 2012 conference.  Amazing!

I imagine the people who planned, produced and participated in the conference are exhilarated and exhausted.  That’s what Passion does to you.

So Many Passions

I am passionate about many things.  Some are highest priority:

God:  Father, Son and Spirit; having an intimate relationship with Him

Becoming the woman God intended me to be and doing all that He created me to do

My family:  loving, serving, encouraging them to be and do all God has for them

There are many other things I care about, even am passionate about:

Fulfilling the Great Commission

Using my talents, pursuing my gifts—writing, speaking, encouraging

Lifting up, encouraging God’s daughters

Living out the Great Commandment

Praying for prodigals

Freeing enslaved, trafficked women and children

Adopting orphans

Serving the poor

Redeeming prisoners and children of prisoners

Loving my neighbor and the person across the globe

As exhilarating as addressing these various passions might be, I could quickly get on passion overload.  I could become emotionally and physically exhausted.

At the Passion conference, this generation was called to rise up, to follow Jesus, to be part of bringing freedom to millions of enslaved people around the globe.  They were asked to give for freedom—and they did, about $3.5 million.  And they were challenged to offer their lives to God to whatever He calls them to.

Living with Passion

Clearly, I can’t do something tangible about all of the things I am passionate about.  But I can live out the passions God calls me to.  How do I do that?  Here are a few general ideas that help me live passionately:

  1. Seek God and His Kingdom first.  He is my main passion, and He says all the rest will be added.
  2. Know my true priorities and focus on them:  family, close friends, job/ministry/calling
  3. Be developing and living out of the strengths and gifts and passions God has put into me.
  4. When other needs/opportunities stir up passion in me, I have these responses:
  •                      God, is this something you want me to engage in?
  •                      Do I know someone who might want to be involved in this need?
  •                      Should I give to this?
  •                      Do I have other resources that could help?
  •                      I use social media to make others aware of the need.
  •                      And always, I can make a real and significant contribution to this issue by praying.

Realistically, I seem to live on passion overload a lot, and I often try to do too much.  God is helping me to see that I make my best contributions when I focus on His calling and priorities for me.  But I can play a role in precipitating passion in others and generating action to meet needs.

And you?  What are your passions?  How are you living them out?

c 2012 Judy Douglass

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