Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered,
Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant,
and the houses without man,
and the land be utterly desolate,
And the Lord have removed men far away,
and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.
But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten:
as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves:
so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof. – Isaiah 6.11-13
God showed me this verse years ago when I was in one of my cycles of being discouraged about the ministry. It seemed like for every success there were two failures. I was in the shower one morning and was really upset. I remember saying to God as I was getting dressed ‘how long do you expect me to keep doing this?’
As I walked into the office I turned on the computer and checked my email. A friend and I were sharing devotions at the time. The email he sent that morning started with this passage!
How long? Until these cities lie empty and a wasteland. In other words, when we go for God we go. Whether is to to our neighbour next door or someone on the far side of the world – we go and we keep going and going and going. We don’t give up. We don’t get weary in well doing. We don’t lose heart. We are stedfast. We are immovable. We are always abounding. We will reap in His time. Our labour is not in vain. God’s word will accomplish that which He desires.
How long? God will let us now when we are done.