- 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!
- If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
- But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.
- 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 watchman for the morning.
- O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with Him is plentiful redemption.
- And He will redeem Israel from all His iniquities.
I read this Psalm this morning in part of my daily reading. I had read this passage many times previously and even heard it read a number of times so when I first read it, I did not give much thought to it. However, I picked up my Bible and read through it again and this time the meaning behind it seemed to jump out at me. My wife and I have been going through a period in our lives where it seems God has us waiting for some reason. Even when it seems something is about to happen pretty quickly, we wind up waiting. Now, as a youth pastor, if there is one thing I know and have learned in my relationship with the Lord, God’s timing is perfect. Many times I would prefer God to move in a different way than He does only to wind up looking back and realizing the way it happened was the best way. This, however, does not always cure the anxious feelings that invade our hearts and minds during a period of waiting.
Then enter this Psalm. Verse 5 starts with “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits…” Not many people want to say this let alone live it. We want God to work and work quickly. We do not like having to wait. As children, we did not like having to wait to open our presents on Christmas morning. We wanted to open them Christmas Eve. If our parents succumbed to our begging one year, we tried again the next year, but this time the day before Christmas Eve. There is a huge part of us that longs for immediate gratification without having to wait. We want what we want and we want it now. There was a popular song containing the lines “I know what I want, and I want it now.” Ironically this line is from a song titled “Mr. Vain.” Basically, our hearts yearn for things to be done in our timing. We do not want to wait.
However, the Psalmist does not stop with those words. The next line is what makes all the difference. It made all the difference then and it continues to make all the difference for followers of Christ today. “AND in HIS WORD I hope.” Hope is an important word. Hope is what can make even the dimmest circumstances bearable. Hope is what can cause people to keep going even though there seems to be no reason. If you talk to survivors of the Holocaust, many of them will tell you the only thing keeping them alive was hope. Hope there time would end. Hope a rescue would happen. Hope tomorrow would be different. Anyone who has read up on the Holocaust knows the times were horrible and the fact anyone could or would retain any hope is amazing.
I previously mentioned Christmas. Right now we are going through the period of time leading up to Christmas known to the church as “Advent.” Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the second coming of Christ while taking time to remember the first coming, when Jesus came to earth to dwell among His creation, the Creator becoming like the created, to bring salvation. Advent is a time followers of Christ strive to focus our hearts for the second coming of Christ where everything will be changed forever and there will be no more suffering…or waiting. No more waiting. Imagine that. Think about that for a second. When Christ comes this second time, there will be no more waiting. We will be with our Savior.
Going back to Psalm 130 though, what is it that brings about this hope? It is God’s Word. God’s Word is able to bring hope into anyone’s life. Why? Because in God’s Word we are able to make sense of life. God’s Word answers the toughest questions about life. Why is there suffering? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is there evil in the world? Where did the world come from? Is there life after death? Is there a heaven and a hell? Is there a God? What is our purpose? All of these questions are answered in God’s Word. So God’s Word is able to bring about hope.
Flip forward in your Bible to Romans 8:18 and we can receive more reason for hope in this life, no matter what circumstances we might be facing.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory to be revealed to us.”
No matter how bad life gets, no matter how much we have to wait, God’s Word is sufficient to help us through. Why? Because it brings hope. Hope this life is not all there is. Hope that a brighter day will come that will far outweigh any suffering we have gone through in this life.
So are we to just passively sit by and wait for God to move? No. If you read Psalm 130:6, it says “My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchman for the morning.” What was a watchman’s duty? They were to stand guard for a city night and day to look for invading armies. They had an extremely important job. No doubt throughout their watch, they were actively watching, scanning the horizons to look for any sign of a possible invasion or an army approaching. The whole city owed their security to this watchman. If a watchman fell asleep on his watch, it could bring disaster for a city. So watchmen no doubt waited for the morning, but with a longing, because morning meant they made it through another night, they had hope for a new day without war. Watchmen were actively watching all night while waiting for the morning.
As followers of Christ, we are constantly watching while we are waiting. We are actively scanning the horizon for signs of God’s work and movement while waiting for Him with a hope that comes from spending time in His Word. As my wife and I are waiting, we are actively striving to trust in God because of His Word. Many times, it is what keeps us moving because it offers hope. And hope keeps us moving…and waiting…and watching.