January 26, 2019

Pain and Hope

There are many places in the Bible that encourage me to wait for God. The most encouraging is found at the end of an already beautiful chapter, Isaiah 40—
Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
As beautiful as that brief passage is, it cannot match the passion of the waiting and watching I find in Psalm 130:
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.
 Ps. 130:5-6 

This is not spoken by someone who will be satisfied with platitudes or shallow theology. This is the prayer of someone who is filled with both pain and hope—a person who can't sleep because of their distress, but doesn't despair of God's help; who is critically ill, but is confident of healing; or who is at death's door, and has faith that it's life that lies on the other side.

I have a tendency to lie awake worrying and I like to think maybe this psalm applies to me. Except that the psalmist here appears to be lying awake hoping. When will I get to that point?

I pray for peaceful sleep, Lord. But if I must lie awake, help me not to worry, but to hope—not to assume the worst, but plan for the best; in the Name of the One who prayed lone in the garden, and who also taught me to pray...

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