I was lost in the world of editing for a whole day yesterday. My eyes ached as I finished yet another run through of my 400 page book. I thought about just running away to the river, the beautiful river, but I stuck to my task. I am so ready for it to be published and to be done with it. Probably a few more revisions before it is ready however. The biggest mistake an author can make is putting it out there too soon, without combing out every snarl in language, grammar, or flow. The problem is you can never eradicate every tangle. And sometimes one change necessitates a whole bunch of other changes. So I forced myself to stay in my chair and control my daydreaming of the quiet, peaceful river. It is not just writer fatigue that makes the edit process difficult. I also cannot wait for the reward! Holding a finished bound copy of my book is exhilarating. And this one has been in the works from conception to this point for 8 years now! How much longer must I wait?
How long, Lord? It is such a familiar refrain in the Bible. I am not alone in longing for the reward of my labor. The list of folks crying out "How long, Lord!" is a worthy Bible study.
My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long? (Psalm 6:3 NIV)
How long, Lord ? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13:1 NIV)
How long, Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my precious life from these lions. (Psalm 35:17 NIV)
How long, Lord, will the wicked, how long will the wicked be jubilant? (Psalm 94:3 NIV)
How long, Lord ? Will You be angry forever? Will Your jealousy burn like fire? (Psalms 79:5 NKJV)
How long, Lord God Almighty, will your anger smolder against the prayers of your people? (Psalm 80:4 NIV)
Ethan the Ezrathite:
How long, Lord ? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your wrath burn like fire? (Psalms 89:46 NKJV)
How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? (Habakkuk 1:2 NIV)
Then the Angel of the Lord responded, “How long, Lord of Hosts, will You withhold mercy from Jerusalem and the cities of Judah that You have been angry with these 70 years? ” (Zechariah 1:12 HCSB)
Then I said, “For how long, Lord?” ....(Isaiah 6:11 NIV)
God's Faithful, Martyred Witnesses:
They called out in a loud voice. "How long, Lord and King, holy and true?" they asked. "How long will you wait to judge those who live on the earth? How long will it be until you pay them back for killing us?" (Revelation 6:10 NIRV)
Whew! There is a lot of longing for retribution and restoration and reward from God's people! And here is the kicker....listen to God's answer in Revelation to the cry from those who died defending the faith, as they gather and cry out, "How long, Lord!?"
..."Wait a little longer," they were told. "There are still more of your believing brothers and sisters who must be killed." (Revelation 6:11 NIRV)
Excuse me?! Say what?! Wait a little longer so more good followers get to die? Wait so more weary people struggling to do the right thing get slaughtered? This just is NOT quite the comforting words I personally am looking for. What am I missing?
As any good editor of any book knows, you don't stop editing till you reach the end. If I only read the verses quoted above, and didn't continue to the conclusion of the book, there is only bewildered despair. But in the last chapter of the Bible, God tells us He is coming soon, be patient and faithful, and be assured He brings His rewards with Him. In the meantime, He tarries, delaying until the full harvest of souls are reaped. He is planning to write in as many names as possible in the Book of Eternal Life. It is worth waiting for the final Edit.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life. It was as clear as crystal. It flowed from the throne of God and of the Lamb. There will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city. God's servants will serve him. They will see his face. His name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun. The Lord God will give them light. They will rule for ever and ever. The angel said to me, "You can trust these words. They are true. The Lord is the God of the spirits of the prophets. He sent his angel to show those who serve him the things that must soon take place." "Look! I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of the prophecy in this book." "Look! I am coming soon! I bring my rewards with me. I will reward each person for what he has done. "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this witness for the churches. I am the Root and the Son of David. I am the bright Morning Star." The Holy Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" Let those who hear say, "Come!" Anyone who is thirsty should come. Anyone who wants to take the free gift of the water of life should do so. He who gives witness to these things says, "Yes. I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen. (Revelation 22:1, 3-7, 12, 16, 17, 20, 21 NIRV)
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