My soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning. [Psalm 130 NRSV]
We don’t like to wait – and sometimes we think that is unique to us – either as Americans or as 21st Century people. However, if impatience is unique to us, why is it that there are so many passages in the Bible encouraging us to have patience and to wait for the Lord, and others like this one that describes that waiting with such longing?
David had the experience of being a soldier. Perhaps he wrote this psalm out of that experience. Darkness brought additional danger. The night could conceal any number of threats, animal or human. We are the most vulnerable when we sleep. For this reason, guards were posted, passwords chosen, and not all slept at the same time. They watched for the morning when they could better see the approach of the enemy – or the approach of friends who would help.
Thankfully, I have never had the soldier’s experience, but there have been times that I have sat by a sick child’s bed, waiting for the clock to tell me morning has come and now, I could call the doctor’s office for help. There were times I was scared throughout the night but realized the situation did not warrant an emergency room visit. I could call – in the morning – during office hours. I trusted that help would be given and with that help, health would be restored.
It is that memory of fear and hope that I remember when I read this psalm. My soul waits for the Lord as those who wait for the morning.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope. [Psalm 130 NRSV]
Just as I have waited and hoped for help to come from the medical community, David waited and hoped for help to come from the word of God. I hoped for physical health and restoration of myself and loved ones. David hoped for more, for the health and wholeness not only of body but also of mind and spirit.
In this Lent, perhaps we, too, can wait on the Lord and hope for wholeness that comes through the reading and meditating on God’s word.