Some years back, I was intrigued by a book title. "A Long Obedience in The Same Direction", by Eugene Peterson, is a study of the Psalms of Ascent--Psalms 120-134. Peterson's premise is that the principles found there are just as applicable to modern day life as they were when the faithful sang them on their way to worship in Jerusalem. Topics included are Repentance, Trust, Worship, Service, Security, Joy, etc.
I'd never thought of obedience in a "long" sense. As a child, a parent, and a spiritual disciple, I've been taught that obedience should be immediate and complete. The goal is to bring myself into unfailing compliance with the rules of life and Godliness. But how often do I think past the expectation of the moment? How committed am I to careful consideration of the heart attitude required for a "long obedience"?
In the Psalms, David continually speaks of "whole heart" worship and service. As he paid his dues, waiting for the promise of his throne, he gave us a glimpse of "long". Relentlessly pursued by the king he was destined to replace, unjustly accused and baited, David "encouraged himself in the Lord, His God". His whole-hearted devotion and unflagging trust in God and His promises, kept him from proudly exerting his own will.
"Long..."... you mean, like 30 days of spoken forgiveness? You mean, like fully trusting in the inerrant justice and judgment of my Advocate? Even though the violent, the evil and wicked, and the proud oppress me with their baited traps? Even though my heart is breaking with pain and loneliness?
Yes, if that broken heart will leave itself in the gentle and capable hands of the Great Physician. Not just for today or this week, but for the long haul. As committed to His care and wisdom as one would be to a cancer specialist or a suicide counsellor. Continuing, unwavering, "in the same direction".
"I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor. Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto Thy name: the upright shall dwell in Thy presence." Psalms 140:12-13