However long, O Lord.

I’ve been writing papers all week. Every time I think I need to take a break, I have a new idea to research and the next thing I know it is 2:30 in the morning and I have yet to begin writing.

How long, O Lord, until I finish this paper about who Christ is within the story of your redemption and get to go to bed?

I’ve been identifying prepositions, pronouns, and conjunctions in this passage for the last three hours and while I am starting to understand what their purpose is in the writing, I have yet to see the difference they make in my life.

How long, O Lord, until I can turn this assignment in and begin studying for my quiz over the pastoral epistles?

I know how to say the right thing to sound intelligent, to appear eloquent, in my classes. But, the words I say are beginning to change my heart as little as knowing the difference between present active indicative and aorist passive indicative verb endings in Greek does.

How long, O Lord, until I finally finish translating these sentences so I can do my fifteen page reading about the Trinity?

It seems like the more I am learning intellectually, the more I am learning that my heart is not being affected.

How long, O Lord, until the promise I have been told that a depth of knowledge will create a deeper love of you comes true?

This is how the burn-out begins. A whisper of pointlessness that transforms into a shout of desperation, a cry of What is the point of this anymore?

I am weary, I am worn. I am tired, torn, tried, tested, and so over it.

How long, O Lord? How much longer must I wait?

The totality of my being is exhausted. Exhausted from pretending I am all together, exhausted from forcing myself to seek the significance of what I do, exhausted from asking questions.

How long until this moment passes? Because it has before, it always passes, but only if we take heart in him. How much longer must we wait?

To the burnt-out, completely over it, beyond exhausted, doubting Bible college student:

Take heart and pray.

Every day we are presented with ideas, theories, obscure theological terms, and doctrinal debates that threaten to get us lost in the search for the living water that quenches our thirst.

Pray that the living and active word of God continues to be living and active in your life, that complacency will be eradicated.

Pray that you will not wait until you are utterly exhausted to rely upon God.

Pray for the strength to be willing to relent to God’s will, because it is only through him that you will thrive.

Pray that weariness will become the invigoration it once was.

Pray that the worn out mind will be restored.

Pray that the tired heart will become rested, that the torn zeal will be repaired, that the tried spirit return to resilience, and the tested soul again become steadfast.

The burn-out is inevitable, but it is not unconquerable.

We echo David as we cry out,

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
    and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
    my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

But I trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.”
    -Psalm 13

However long, O Lord, we will wait.

However long, O Lord, we will trust your steadfast love is strong.

However long, O Lord, we will remain in your arms and patiently wait for you to prevail over our enemy of complacency, our foe of apathy.

However long, O Lord, we shall hold fast to the blessing we have been given of delving daily into your depth and majesty.

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2 thoughts on “However long, O Lord.

  1. Jamie Carter says:

    It seems like the more I am learning intellectually, the more I am learning that my heart is not being affected.
    ***
    There’s a reason why some of the most devoted atheists used the among the most passionate Bible students – but the more they climbed the lonely mountain of knowledge, the less they were lifted into the heights of faith. It’s like learning how the magic trick was done – then you are less in awe of the trick as you understand how it was pulled off the next time you see it.

    1. Alyssa says:

      And it is because of the reason that we believe we have seen how the metaphorical magic trick is done that we must pray. The idea that we believe we have grasped all there is to understand about God, about his glory, his majesty, his wondrous nature is a fallacy of human pride. The longer I have studied theology, the more I have struggled with this false sense of loftiness in what I know. It is my prayer and my consistent repetition of the words of Job that say, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (42:5-6) that keep me humble and reminded that I am not exalted because I study God, but am instead blessed with a privilege.

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