Rachel Conrad Carlson
How Long, O Lord?
An Advent Conversation with Psalm 34
I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me.
How long between David’s prayer and God’s answer?
How long O Lord before you answer me?
These are the dark days before the Babe arrives.
He freed me from all my fears.
But I’ve carried these fears for so long,
Woven into the tightened threads of my muscles,
Steeped within my racing thoughts,
Permeated into the core of my being.
This liminal space breeds the killing kind of fear.
How can freedom (over)come?
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy.
I picture my face shining like I’ve witnessed the birth of the Messiah myself.
I catch a glimpse of who I could be if joy replaced the doubts.
Perhaps this kind of radiance comes from the mere act of looking to God for help,
Perhaps the Voice of Love is whispering through the depths.
No shadow of shame will darken their faces.
Can it be that the act of turning is enough to vanquish the shame?
That God yearns only for my response, not my perfection?
That the lies that have enveloped me for so long are just that—
Untruths I’ve claimed as my own,
Doubts I’ve allowed to stifle my true self?
Can it be that the radiance of God’s joy can, in fact, erase it all?
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.
David shows us the way.
In our desperation, we can pray, and God will listen.
Into the silence, He will sing hope.
Into the dark, He will create light.
He alone can save. I can only surrender.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
The fear of God stills all other fears.
It is a we-are-standing-on-Holy-Ground kind of trembling that heals instead of destroys.
And the angel of the Lord stands guard.
Here with us.
Here while we wait, we are surrounded and defended.
Our salvation is near.