Daily D – Psalm 40:1-3
I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD. PSALM 40:1-3 (NLT)
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this year. An early Spring, they say. Here we are cooped up in our homes for the whole month of March. Yesterday we were told we will spend April in home confinement as well.
There’s a scene in the movie Groundhog Day where a state trooper stopping traffic in a blizzard tells Phil the weatherman, “You can go ahead and freeze to death, or you can go back to Punxsutawney. Now what’ll it be?” Phil looks around and replies, “I’m thinking.”
Today, we are told, “You can go out and do all the stuff you normally do and possibly die. Or, you can go home and stay there. Now what’ll it be?” A lot of people are saying, “I’m thinking.”
Most Americans are in league with Veruca Salt from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Her song from the movie in 1971, I Want it Now, was the theme song of the Baby Boom Generation. And the Baby Busters. And Gens X, Y, and now Z. Toilet paper and hand sanitizer? “I want it now!” A meal that was not prepared at home? “I want it now!” Baseball? “I want it now!”
That last one hits really close to home. Baseball is my year-round avocation. It provides a necessary diversion from work projects, travel arrangements, teaching schedules, and training events. The fantasy baseball podcasts have just about run out of things to talk about. (Sigh)
Of all the things Americans are good at, waiting is not one of them. Have you noticed, however, how many times the Bible talks about waiting? Now that this idea has entered your conscious awareness, you will see it everywhere. Like here in Psalm 40.
David said, “I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.” God’s timing is perfect. Our lives are much closer to perfect when we learn to wait on God.
The Bible also has a lot to say about walking with God. Jesus included this idea in what we call The Lord’s Prayer when taught us to pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” (Matt. 6:13 ESV).
Ollie the Border Collie loves to go for a walk. When he sees us put on our walking clothes, his ears perk up. His eyes focus. And he begins to march in place. When he hears the closet door open where we keep the leashes, he begins to cry and quiver with anticipation. He runs to the front door and jumps up and down. When we attach the leash to his collar, he cries so loudly that our neighbors must think we are beating him. He really, really loves to go for a walk.
One day when he was about six months old, he got away from us as we were beginning our adventure on the trails. He took off as fast as he could run. He knew the way. He knew we would follow. However, when he got to the trailhead, we weren’t there. So, being the curious soul he is, he took stock of his surroundings while he awaited our arrival. He stepped into a six-lane county road and was nearly run over. Then someone tried to take him and stuff him in his pickup camper.
“Good things come to those who wait,” we have heard. Waiting will achieve for us right now freedom from a killer virus. Waiting places us in position to hear clearly from our Father in heaven. Waiting keeps us from running ahead of God’s plans and into unnecessary danger.
Listen again to King David’s experience:
I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.
What happened when David waited?
- God turned to him and heard his cry, his prayers.
- God lifted him out of the mess he was in.
- God set his feet on solid ground.
- God steadied him as he took his next steps.
- God gave him a new song to sing, new praise in honor of God’s mercy and grace.
All of this leads people to see how good God is and to put their trust in him.
All we have to do is wait. Wait for it! Wait for God’s perfect answer in his perfect timing. While we wait, we will pray. We will pray for cures, vaccines, researchers, healthcare providers, government leaders, and for patience.
Get good at waiting.
I will wait and shelter in place for as long as it takes.
Our Father, we have many songs rattling around our heads that say things like, “I can’t wait forever.” Our anxiety compounds the more we have to sit around. Please give us the grace to wait. Please give us trust in your perfect timing. Make us part of the solution and not part of the problem. Teach us to pray like we have never prayed before for those who serve, research, and lead. Give us ears to hear what you are saying now that we are still before you. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”