Two Challenges for the Soul
Reading last week from Psalm 130 and was struck with two concepts that are hugely important in our life today:
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning. (130:5-6, NRSV)
There are two aspects to the soul that is open and surrendered to God here that are important because they are qualities that help us deal with both the mundane routines and the darkness that creeps into our life on a daily basis. I felt a shot to my heart as I read these, as I realized they were not realities in my own soul at the moment.
1. Patient soul - the word "wait" is repeated over and over again in the Psalms. Why? Very simply because people haven't changed much in the years since David and the boys carved this poetry into the stonework of Israel's heart and our hearts as well. Wait for the Lord, I will wait for the Lord. In 130, the writer describes his soul as "waiting" - and for a Hebrew the soul refers to the whole of their life all totaled. Work, relationships, devotion to God and basic human existence are all stalled - sitting in line waiting for the Lord. Patiently waiting. What are the obstacles to our life being a life that waits for the Lord? Are we willing to press pause on a decision or action until we hear from the Lord? What is the cause for impatience in our life right now and what disciplines might get to the heart of our struggle to wait on Him?
2. Expectant soul - If the patience part caused you to wince, the expectant part may bring a smile. The allusion to "those who watch for the morning" is powerful as the psalmist is describing people who, put simply, are waiting for the sun to come up. The quick question here is this: have we ever known a day when the sun didn't rise? Have we ever had a day when seasonally-determined sun didn't crack the horizon and rise to full light in the sky? Then here's the powerful reality the psalmist declares:
Our patient souls are waiting in expectation of something that is a mathematical and logistical certainty.
The sun will always rise until God determines it should stay in bed, and so our souls can and should develop a dependence and expectancy for God that is as sure as the sunrise to be rewarded with His arrival. Where are we lacking in expectancy? Where are we struggling to believe God's attentiveness to us is as sure as the next sunrise?
I pray that God leads us all to embrace the patience and expectancy that cut fireworks loose in our prayer and service to the world. I pray that if we are fighting for life in the gutter, that the sunrise might illuminate the escape we have longed for since falling so hard. I pray that in the comings and goings of this Tuesday we are able to wait patiently on the Lord knowing His arrival will come as the sun and with the same brightness and heat into the cold and lightless reality we may be facing today.