“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.” Psalm 130:5-6 NIV
More than anything, I think that waiting is something we are just not built to do. It seems all wrong. It hurts, it is tiring, demoralising and annoying. But also more than anything, it is what forms us into heavenly beings.
Oh we have to learn to wait. We have to train ourselves, we have to resign our impatient spirits to its boredom and aridity. British people are adept at waiting, or we used to be, with so many of our systems built around queuing. You can spot the British people in line at Disney World. We look smug amongst the other tourists, because this is the one thing we know how to do, especially if there is a cup of tea at the end of it.
But waiting for the Lord is different. It requires faith, not only that we are waiting for something worthwhile, but that we are not forgotten as we hang on. We don’t get a number, nor can we see how much longer there is to go. And as the Psalmist expresses here, we don’t just wait with our minds or our hearts or our bodies, but with our whole being. Other translations use the word “long” so that the nuance is about yearning for God. And waiting on him, waiting for answers is about desire, and learning to be patient. And like the watchmen on guard duty, we eagerly look for the first signs that the hard night will soon be over. We strain to see the night sky become just one iota lighter, so that we can look forward to dawn creeping over the horizon and relieving us of duty. This image always reminds me of various scenes in Tolkein’s the Lord of the Rings, when the dawn is watched for from the battlements either in trepidation of coming combat, or in hopes of a longed for rescue and the sound of cavalry thudding towards the siege with first light.
If we are people who pray, who are looking for answers, searching for the Lord and his truth, we are wait-ers. We wait actively, not just passively, on the lookout. But when the wait is long and dark, cold and hard, we struggle, we fuss, we moan, we wonder if the morning is ever coming. We wonder a lot whether we have been forgotten, whether we matter, whether our original request or question was even heard. Doubting happens in the dark and it is tough. Unlike the watchmen, we may not even know exactly what it is we are waiting for, and it may seem like something much less certain than sunrise. But God is waiting too. He is waiting for the right time, the right way and often, even for our endurance to give rise to perseverance and stronger faith. He is, perhaps, infuriatingly like Gandalf, who says, “A wizard is never late, he arrives exactly when he means to.”
Photo from Pixabay