August 14, 2015

Crossed Arms

Psalm 74

Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!

—  Psalm 74:11

The people of Israel had fallen into idolatry. God had been patient for generations, but God knew that only severe punishment and exile would turn the people away from their sins and back to him. Enemy armies were allowed to rise up and conquer the nation and sack the city of Jerusalem, destroying everything—including God’s temple.

The people couldn’t help wondering why God would let this happen and why God was so slow to respond to their pleas for deliverance. “How long will you hold back your hand?”

It can often seem to us that God is slow to intervene on our behalf or to respond to our needs. But what might appear slow to us is the right timing from God’s perspective. It’s easy for us to become impatient, but we should never give up on God or grow impatient with him.

When God seems silent and we are deep in anguish, we should follow the method in this psalm. Think about how God has acted on behalf of his people in the past and then reflect on what God has done for you. God is at work not only in history but also in your life today.

God eventually returned the people to their land; he answered their cries for help. And God will do the same for us.

Do you depend on God, asking faithfully for his help each day?

“How long, O LORD?” we ask at times—yet we know that your love sets the seasons of our lives. Give us patience to await your answers to our prayers. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Thea Leunk

Thea Nyhoff Leunk has been a high school English teacher, a director of Christian education, a pastor of discipleship, and a regional coach for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is currently the senior pastor at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thea has also written courses for teens and young adults on world religions, Christian faith traditions, and science and the Bible. She and her husband have three adult children.

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