When You Want to Know, ‘How Long, Lord?’
By Rick Warren
“[Moses] kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27 (NLT)
Many people suffer from prolonged pain, whether it’s chronic physical, emotional, spiritual, relational, or financial pain. Maybe you’re experiencing extended suffering, and you feel like you might have to endure it for the rest of your life.
We’ve been talking the last few days about tests God gives you to grow your character, and this is another one. It is the “How Long” test, where you ask, “How long, Lord?”
The Bible tells how Moses had incredible persistence. He put up with enormous pain in his life. He endured significant criticism and conflict. He had every right to say, "How long, Lord?"
Hebrews 11:24-26 says, “It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward” (NLT).
Moses gave up everything that many people spend their lives trying to achieve—fame, fortune, pleasure, possessions, and position. But he let them go because he had put his faith and identity in God. He trusted in God’s promises, even as he was mistreated along with God’s people. He thought that being disgraced for the sake of Christ was worth more than the treasures of Egypt—because “he was looking ahead to his reward.”
Faith is continuing to persist without knowing how long you’ll need to hang on. And sometimes that’s very difficult. So how do you continue in faith when you are suffering? How do you develop endurance? How do you handle prolonged pain?
You do what Moses did: You get close to God and stay connected so you can hear from him.
Moses had a burning bush through which God talked to him. But you don't need a burning bush because you have the Bible. Everything God wants to say to you is in the Bible. For you, God won’t say it through a bush or write it in the sky—because he already wrote it in a book.
Stop looking for a vision. Instead, start looking for a verse in God’s Word. Knowing God’s revelation, instructions, and promises will give you the ability to pass the How Long test when you're going through prolonged pain.
Like Moses, keep your focus where it belongs. The Bible says that Moses “kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27 NLT).
If you keep your eyes on your pain, you won’t be able to look up. But if you keep your eyes on your Savior, you're going to walk through difficulty with his grace.
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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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