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Andrew Peterson’s next album, Counting Stars, releases July 27.

A radioified version of the song, The Reckoning (How Long) is already available, but I personally prefer the album version, which I’ve received permission to stream below.

Some verses to meditate upon in conjunction with the song: Luke 8:17, Psalm 13, Job 38, Revelation 6:15-17, Romans 5:9.

I thank God for Andrew and the gifts he’s been given and continues to you. May God speed the day of reckoning.

The lyrics follow the audio player.

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The Reckoning
Words by Andrew Peterson
Music by Andrew Peterson and Andrew Osenga

I can see the storm descending on the hill tonight
Tall trees are bending to your will tonight
Let the mighty bow down
At the thundering sound of your voice

I can hear the howling wind and feel the rain tonight
Every drop a prophet in your name tonight
And the words that they sing
They are washing me clean, but

How long until this curtain is lifted?
How long is this the song that we sing?
How long until the reckoning?

And I know you hear the cries of every soul tonight
You see the teardrops as they roll tonight
Down the faces of saints
Who grow weary and faint in your fields

And the wicked roam the cities and the streets tonight
But when the God of love and thunder speaks tonight
I believe You will come
Your justice be done, but

How long until this curtain is lifted?
How long is this the song that we sing?
How long until the reckoning?

You are holiness and grace
You are fury and rest
You are anger and love
You curse and you bless
You are mighty and weak
You are silence and song
You are plain as the day,
But you have hidden your face--
For how long? How long?

And I am standing in the silence of the reckoning
The storm is past and rest is beckoning
Mighty God, how I fear you
How I long to be near you, O Lord

How long until this curtain is lifted?
How long is this the song that we sing?
How long until the reckoning?

And I know that I don't know what I'm asking
But I long to look you full in the face
I am ready for the reckoning

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32 thoughts on “How Long Is This the Song that We Sing?”

  1. Clifford says:

    I love Andrew Peterson’s work. Also, I noticed that Andrew Osenga helped co-write the music. I would by a cd of him singing the phone book. He is by and far my favorite song writer.

  2. Jon says:

    Wow – stunning! Thanks for sharing!

  3. excellent, thankyou!

  4. Donovan says:

    Powerful. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing it!

  5. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

  6. Ted Bigelow says:

    Thank you Justin – glorious, glorious, glorious.

    The lyric “And I am standing in the silence of the reckoning”


    “And I am standing in the stillness of the reckoning”

  7. Ron Lair says:

    WoW Great stuff! I’m gonna grab those lyrics to reprint along with my Sunday School handout for tomorrow… fits in wonderfully with a study in habakkuk. Thanks!

  8. Good stuff. Thanks!

  9. Buddy McNett says:

    What do these verses mean?

    Also how is God mighty and weak?

    You are holiness and grace
    “You are fury and rest”
    “You are anger and love”
    “You curse and you bless”
    “You are mighty and weak”
    “You are silence and song”
    “You are plain as the day,”
    “But you have hidden your face—”
    “For how long? How long?”

    Thank you for your help!

  10. Thanks for sharing the song with your readers, Justin. It makes me happy to know the album version is being heard.

    Buddy–Your question about the bridge of the song is a good one. God isn’t one to be nailed down. He’s revealed himself in Scripture, in Christ himself, and in creation, but somehow the more he reveals the more we realize we don’t understand about him. He is utterly holy, and therefore requires holiness, and yet is abounding in mercy and grace; his love, in the words of the late, great Rich Mullins, is a “raging, reckless fury”, but Christ says he comes to give us rest; He is at times in Scripture an angry God, and the Apostle John says he is love; the Fall brought about his curse, and yet he lavishes us with blessing; he reminds Job of his great power and might, and yet Christ (who is God) appears as “one from whom men hide their faces”, stricken, smitten, and afflicted; he comes as a still small voice, and in Revelation his presence is announced with jubilant song; Romans says his divine nature and eternal power are clearly seen, and yet no man has seen the face of God.

    G.K. Chesterton’s ORTHODOXY deals a lot with paradox and I’m sure that book had an influence on the lyric. What it comes down to is the last line of the last verse: “Mighty God, how I fear you / How I long to be near you, O LORD.” When Lucy sees Aslan, she is full of awe and is torn between her desire to cower and her longing to bury her face in his mane. He’s good, but he isn’t tame.

    I ache for the day he comes galloping out of the sky. And yet. And yet, I know I don’t know what I’m asking. Even those of us hidden in Christ will be stripped of our puny notions of who he really is, and will be driven by our terror even deeper into the bosom of Jesus.

    1. Rebecca says:

      “God isn’t one to be nailed down.”


      1. Oops! Well, I guess he sort of is.

  11. Andrew, thanks for commenting. There are few songs that look to the second coming with the biblical balance of joy and fear, delighting in God’s coming kingdom and yet overwhelmed by His severe judgment. “Lo He Come with Clouds Descending” is about the only one I can think of. Thank you for writing a song that well captures this glorious tension.

  12. Thank you for this great new song.
    The lyrics bring Psalm 66 to mind.

    Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. All the earth worships you.”

    Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast mercy from me.

  13. Lee Dyck says:

    A great example of truth married to beautiful music… not unlike how Dr. Robert Smith described preaching as “doxological dancing” or Lloyd-Jones describing it as “theology on fire”.

  14. Terry says:

    The words are excellent. I’m afraid I’ll never “get” the contemporary music. Everything sounds the same but it is isn’t singable by congregations. Apparently, however, it works for lots of other people so I am glad for that. Maybe I’ll live long enough to see a music come back to the church that can be sung in four part harmony, but I won’t hold my breath.

  15. Adam says:

    If this song is any indication, Peterson is going to hit it out of the park yet again with the coming record. However, I would expect nothing less. I have been so blessed by this mans talents.

  16. bob schultz says:

    Thanks Justin and Andrew. For the last 5 months I have been studying escatology and the book of Revelation. This work really jumps out and I sing loudly with it. Maranatha!

  17. Jay Buzbee says:

    Thanks Andrew for a powerful message of truth that rings in the hearts of the redeemed. How long, O Lord?!

  18. Pedro says:


    If you are reading this…thank you. For everything. You are a gift.

  19. Garrett says:

    That was this side of awesome. I like Osenga’s Indelible Grace work too. Cool stuff.

  20. Phil says:

    Am I hearing it right when I hear the chorus saying “how long until this BURDEN is lifted…”
    rather than “curtain?”

    Great song!

  21. Loren Eaton says:

    So. Very. Good.

    Seriously, every time I think that AP has reached his creative apogee, his next project turns out even better. Beautiful, beautiful stuff.

  22. Man, that’s good stuff. Can’t wait for the album.

  23. Laura says:

    Thank you, Justin, for sharing this, and Andrew, for allowing it–and I loved both the lyrics and your comments on the bridge above. I bought the song and look forward to the album. The song moves me to tears & worship every time I hear it.

  24. DrewK says:

    Only discovered AP afew months ago.(Probably on this blog. Thanks Justin. My wife and I both love his music. As I listened to The Reckoning I was moved not only by the words and music but by whole, being greater than the sum of the parts. It’s the Spirit that is behind and beyond parts. It reminds, especially the lyrics, of the late, great Mark Heard(my kindred spirit). Trust me, I give no higher compliment than to compare to Heard. Bless you Andrew(and Justin for bring him to us.)

  25. michelle mumme says:

    woohoo!!! this song is an awesome heartbeat for the saints!

    could anyone explain to me how God is weak, though?

    1. Christel says:

      Michelle, when I read your question, I immediately thought of Paul’s words describing the attitude of Christ in Philippians 2:

      “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
      Who, being in very nature God,
      did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
      but made himself nothing,
      taking the very nature of a servant,
      being made in human likeness.
      And being found in appearance as a man,
      he humbled himself
      and became obedient to death—
      even death on a cross!”

      God’s “weakness” is voluntary. It is the humility of God becoming man. It is the frailty of humanity. It is the helplessness of an infant. It is being placed on a cross and killed as a criminal. But the power of the Truth and of the lyrics of this song is that coupled with weakness and humility there is ultimate might and perfection. God chose to be weak so that we might be saved, and in his weakness there is unparalleled strength.

      1. Wow. Thanks, Christel. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

        1. Christel says:


          I have been listening to your music for almost ten years. I love your work (or God’s work through you) because of the lyrics of your songs that wholeheartedly, powerfully, and beautifully proclaim the profound message of the gospel. Thank you for your continued ministry through music; I am led into worship again and again as I listen.

          I’ve been following you on Twitter and getting excited about your new album. “The Reckoning” echoes the cries of the hearts of believers who yearn for the day of complete rest and joy in Christ. I absolutely love the words, “Mighty God, how I fear you/How I long to be near you, O Lord” because that should be the sentiment of every person who catches even a glimpse of God’s character. We stand in awe and reverence and expectation. Lewis had it right: “He isn’t safe, but he is good.” I’m so thankful for the paradoxes of truth that humble me and keep me in wonder of our awesome God.

          In His Grip, Christel

          P.S. Last summer I moved halfway around the world to be a missionary teacher, and this past Christmas I really missed attending your Behold the Lamb service. You wanna make a stop in Taiwan next year? ;)

  26. Chris Krycho says:

    This was fantastic. I’ve been saving it to listen to till I had a chance to really listen, because I liked the first stanza so much. It was well worth it.

    I commented, posting a link to this page on facebook, that it’s honest, Psalmic in structure and emotion, and God-honoring. We need more of these.

    I’ll be picking up some of Mr. Peterson’s albums pronto.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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