How Long, Oh Lord?

Blog - Joyful Curmudgeon - Blog

How Long, Oh Lord? - 12 Mar 2006

How Long, O Lord?
By Mary T. Hoffman

How long, O Lord, how long
Must the weak be crushed by the strong,
The right be trumped by the wrong?

Please come and change this earth,
Replace the tears with mirth,
And bring your true rebirth.

This poem was inspired by the words “How long, O Lord” that appear in Revelation 6:

9. And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;

10. and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"

New American Standard Bible

After writing my poem, I found the words “How long, O Lord” in three Psalms and in Habakkuk in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), as well. The one that I think fits in with what I was attempting to express is Habakkuk 1:2-4:

2. How long, O LORD, will I call for help,
And Thou wilt not hear?
I cry out to Thee, "Violence!"
Yet Thou dost not save.

3. Why dost Thou make me see iniquity,
And cause me to look on wickedness?
Yes, destruction and violence are before me;
Strife exists and contention arises.

4. Therefore, the law is ignored
And justice is never upheld.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
Therefore, justice comes out perverted.

New American Standard Bible

In some ways, things haven’t changed very much, have they? There seems to be no end to the violence against humans, animals, and the environment. How long, O Lord, must this go on?

And isn’t it interesting that the souls of martyrs in Heaven (according to Revelation 6:10, cited above) ask to be avenged? I would think that surely they, of all people, would follow Jesus’ teaching on forgiving one’s enemies. Are animals the only ones who follow the Lord’s admonition against vindictiveness? Just think about animal companions, and how so many of them love unconditionally.

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"Joyful Curmudgeon"
An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.

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