How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save. Habakkuk 1:2 NLT
How long will it take to finish this paper?
Writing a research paper once took days, even weeks. After coming up with a topic, I visited at least one library to see if enough resources were available to write on the subject. That meant looking in the card catalog and then using the Dewey Decimal System to locate the books. Then, if enough books existed, I began.
Limits existed on how many books I could check out, so I checked out as many as allowed and as many as I thought I could use in the allotted time. But of course, the entire book didn’t address my topic, so I searched the index of the book to find what I wanted. Then, I took notes on a piece of paper—in my own words, of course.
When it appeared I had enough information from the required resources, which I noted on a separate sheet of paper (after researching how to enter a source), I returned the books. Now came the real work: handwriting it legibly or typing it. I chose typing, which didn’t become an option until I entered the ninth grade.
To type a paper, I had to handwrite it first so everything would appear exactly where I wanted it in the paper. I could not move large or even little chunks of material around. Double trouble. Hopefully, I would not make a big mistake while typing. If I did, I had to retype the entire page.
What it once took me weeks to complete, students can now complete in a few short class periods without ever leaving their desks. With computers, a world of information waits at their fingertips. Magazines, posts, books—all online. And to boot, Word enters the sources correctly. They don’t have to learn much at all. Their “How long?” differs from mine.
Habakkuk asked a “how long” of a different type. God’s people did a poor job of obeying. Sinful acts reigned on every hand. Habakkuk wanted to know how long God planned to let this go on without intervening. God informed the prophet He had things under control.
I’m tempted to ask God the same question. Things in the world look pretty seedy. Sin on every hand. And it doesn’t appear things are getting any better. The good news is that God works behind the scenes. He has a plan in mind and will execute it in His good time. Good will win out in the end. The Bible tells us so.
Our job is to be patient and trust God’s wisdom. He knows what He’s doing. Beyond that, we must shine the light of an excellent example so others can see what a believer should look like. And our good deeds will make this world a better place in the process.
When you’re tempted to ask, “How long?” ask “What can I do” instead.
Prayer: Father, show us what we can do to stem the tide of evil.
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