Through all the things which God has said to me none of them have become as unwanted as the word 'Wait'. I was sitting down a few days ago in the back room of my house, my bible open wide before me and a pipe clenched loosely between my teeth. I sat and prayed, prayed for God to speak and show me what to do. To show me where to go, or at least the next step to take. Something I have often been asking for. As I began to read the Scripture that was mine for the day in my reading plan I found my heart begin to feel uneasy, for I had asked God to show me what to do and He was answering. The answer was to wait. Which to me feels a hell of a lot like doing nothing at all.
But it was to wait that I was being called. But I have been waiting long enough, or at least it feels like that so often. So this must be a mistake. I would simply finish my Old Testament reading and move along to my Psalm for the day. Surely here I would find the words that I desired instead of those I was being given. I thumbed through the pages of my bible to find Psalm 130, and began. As I began I felt my soul begin to lift within me, for the psalmist began with the cry "Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! (v1-2)" As I read, these words echoed within my own soul.
I'm not sure if you've ever prayed with the same exclamation marks that the psalmist writes with. If you have not I would challenge you to try it. As people there are times when raised voice and desperate cries are what is needed, and if that does not happen in prayer do we really believe that prayer is what we claim it to be. If prayer is truly an invitation to the throne of grace, if it is within the times of prayer that we commune with God and allow ourselves to be truly known then prayer should be times not only of reverent petition but times for raw emotion. Prayers like these must be heard. Right..?
Within the psalm I found my own should bellowing out. My mind flashed to memories of prayers yelled until my voice went raw. To thoughts of tears for an answer to be given or a situation to change. So often I believe that we stop short of where we are called in prayer, Lord knows I do. The psalmist cried out for God to hear and then shifts gears, "If You, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness that You may be feared. (v3-4)" I partially expected to read that after such a cry that the psalmist would boldy exclaim that he cried out and God answered. He let go and let God. But that is not where the Spirit led him. He was led to remember the nature and character of the God to whom he was calling out to.
I know in my own life that is something that is so easy to forget. I look around me at all the prayers that seem to go unanswered. All the lonely nights, the feelings of inadequacy, the lies that fly around my head, the fear that what I have done has been wasted time and energy. In these times I desire for the thunder and lighting that so often comes with the voice of the Lord in Scripture. I have often asked for that I know would bring a terror unfathanable, but at least with fear I would be answered. I cry out and want to be answered. The longer I ask the harder it is not to have my thoughts go to other people in my life I trusted and loved, who's voice went silent. Is God walking away as well, will I get a call or text message in a few days saying that we're not doing life together anymore. I want to have something new to cling to, but the psalmist call us to redirect our gaze to that which has already come to pass.
Though there is clear anguish within the words that echoed out in the first two verses the psalm goes where we ought to follow, to the nature of God. Was it not He who saved us? Was it not by His good pleasure that we have been brought this far? Is it not the promise that He who began will surely finish? Though I have deserved death has He not given life?
"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. (v5-6)" It's here, after the character of God is remembered that waiting seems less bitter. When we are able to step back and remind our soul of what God has already done. When we choose to remember the times when He showed Himself to be faithful it gives us faith. Though the season may be dark we wait for God. As the psalmist cries out we shall wait 'more than watchmen wait for the morning.' And like the watchmen we wait for that we know will come. For no matter how dark the night shall become, dawn shall always break upon the horizon, as the day shall each morning be victor over the night so shall the Son of God be victor over the dark night of the soul.
So though the word 'wait' does not loose its meaning, it shall be robbed of the pain that it may bring. For the waiting is not in vain. For to remember the faithfulness of God in the past is to give hope in the grace of God yet to come. Though so much around seems uncertian God shall remain. This does not make the waiting easy, but it gives us hope that all that was went through shall be worth it. As this is taken to heart we shall be able to cry out with the end of the psalm, "O Israel (O Christian), hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with Him is plentiful redemption. (v7)"