How Long?

“How long, O Lord will you look on? How long will you hide your face[…]? You have seen, O Lord, do not be silent!  O Lord, do not be far from me! Wake up!” – Psalm 35:17, 2-23

The Psalmists are the experts at lamenting, crying, calling out to God, “where are you?” and “how long?” Lately it feels like I have been in perpetual lament. The slaughter in Charleston. The devastating number of Black lives lost to our justice system. The continuing burning of Black churches in the past weeks.

“How long will this go on?” I ask, and I feel God’s response – immediately, and in my bones. Well, Elissa, how long will you let it? 

“How long will you hide your face?”  How long will you hide yours?


Like all prayer, the Psalms should come with a warning: don’t ask a question if you don’t want the answer. You see, what has become clear to me is that, while I might feel that the virulence and frequency of racial violence is increasing, it’s not. I am just slowly awakening to the privilege of my own life experiences.

Scripture tells us God is with the afflicted, the persecuted, the hungry, the crucified. If you don’t know where that is, turn on the news. So it strikes me (I can be dense), that if I find myself (safe in my sanctuary) wondering where God is, it is probably because God is wondering where I am. 

So here is my resolution: when I do not feel God with me – I will go to where God is. See you there?

About the Author
Elissa Johnk is the Senior Pastor of The Old Meeting House, East Montpelier Center, Vermont.