Sunday, May 25, 2008

Worth the Wait

This coming Sunday I return, Lord willing, to the pulpit. (Wait a minute, we don't have a pulpit! Oh well, you get the picture.) I am returning from a month-long sabbatical of prayer and reading, which for the most part, has been a positive learning experience for me. It has been good to "return to my roots." To remember God's call, and to be reminded over and over again the importance of maintaining one's relationship with the Holy One.

During this Sabbath journey I have endeavored to walk with Children of Israel as they took their festival forays to the City of Jerusalem. I have done this by spending time in the "songs of ascents," Psalm 120-134.

During my sabbatical I ran into a number from our local church family. Their offers of prayers on my behalf, and their statements of desire for my return, were heart-warming. I can only hope that my return will be worth the wait.

This Sunday, June 1st, will be a Communion Sunday for us at Felton Bible Church, that coupled with my returning from this extended Sabbath, I feel led to focus our attention on Psalm 130 of the Songs of Ascent.
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
2 O Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
3 If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness;
therefore you are feared.
5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6 My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
7 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.
One of the things that grabbed my heart is that of "waiting." Waiting on the LORD of course is a good thing, it sure beats running ahead into ruin, but what I noticed here was that waiting involves working on our part.

In verse 5 and 6 the psalmist tells us that he waits with his soul as the watchmen wait for the morning. How do watchmen wait? Well it is not by sitting still, it is surely not by sleeping, no they are attentive. They may even march along the wall, or patrol the city streets. They are on the constant lookout for possible dangers, all the while longing for the light of day which will make their job that much easier.

As we wait upon the LORD, our waiting is not with hands folded in patience, but we are to be about our tasks. We are to be alert. We wait with assurance, as the watchmen did, knowing that the sun will rise, and there will be new clarity and even safety, when the light has dawned.

How does waiting appear to you? What have you learned as you have waited? What does it mean to wait with ones "whole soul?" What are you waiting for? Do you believe the wait is worth it? As I put a comma to this period of my journey I find myself still waiting, still hoping. How I long for the rising of the sun with healing in His wings. (Malachi 4:2)


trinity said...

As you know I went to intentionally spend a few days waiting with my whole soul on the LORD. He was faithful to show up. Though our conversations were not about the things I had planned. I think waiting with your whole being is being attentive to where God is and what he is doing and saying, whether or not it is what you had in mind. It is paying attention with all of your senses to the movement of God. It is active listening, careful watching and purposeful living.

I for one am glad you are back!

Anonymous said...

Just want you to know I'm reading about the fire in Bonny Doon and keeping you all in my prayers.

Well, sometimes, all one can do is pray and wait and sometimes one can join the volunteer fire department or open churches to people who are evacuated while they wait for God to move (a heavy rain in Santa Cruz county would be a nice move on God's part imho !!!!)

I was talking to some lady once that said if she came upon someone lying in the road she would stop and pray before she did another thing. I was thinking to myself that given the lenghy prayers this lady usually prayed, the victim could die before she got around to saying "amen" when another person said, "Well, I would pray WHILE I was running toward a payphone" (that was before cell phones).

One of my favorite passages is in ecclesiastes

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."

I work with someone whose daughter recently went into the hospital with Lupus. She is not doing well and just had to be sent to a hospital in another large city by ambulance. He just lost his wife who died of cancer not long ago and now his only child is having a major medical crisis. I would appreciate it if you would keep her in your prayers. Her name is Donna.