Eleventh letter of the Hebrew Alephbeth
The writer is wringing his hands, his soul is weary and his eyes are weak.
"My soul faints with longing for your salvation, My eyes fail, looking for your promise."
Though I don't often feel that kind of deep despair, I have felt it. I've mostly felt it in mourning the death of my two brothers. I also feel twinges of it when I hear compelling stories of the kind of suffering fellow believers endure around the world.
Suffering at the hands of vicious militias, suffering for lack of clean water and nourishing food, suffering in the absence of a sustainable economy and bustling marketplace, suffering with no school, suffering under an oppressive regime that lies, tortures, ruins and gobbles up natural resources. Suffering in the aftermath of wretched tsunami's and hurricanes. Suffering under the whistling bullets and deafening suicide bombs. How often those believers must feel faint, must look at the world with failing eyes.
My trials have not been even close to being as horrible as many martyrs and others who suffer as Christians, who suffer as humanity. In fact almost two billion men, women, children suffer what was just described above. And many of those are Christians. And Christianity is thriving in these awful conditions. For many of the believers sing with the psalmist: BUT I have put my Hope in your Word. What a tough hope they possess, though they ask hard, hard, hard questions of God: When will you comfort me? How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors?
It seems that Christianity thrives amongst the soul-weary, the bone-tired, the hope-starved, the heart-whipped, the mind-crushed. When all the gods of this world have wrecked their havoc on humanity, when they have fled their scene of slaughter, the cries of humanity reach the ever-present, ever-listening, ever-redeeming, ever-rescuing God in Jesus.
When will you comfort me?
That's the haunting questions that so many of humanity cry out to God in Jesus. Sudan's Darfur; Iraq's Baghdad; America's New Orleans; Asia's Indonesia; India's Calcutta. They also cry out to us. And for some of us, we will be God's answer to that question. How long will we let them wait?