It was a tough week. A wandering and wondering week. Many battles between the old nature and the Spirit. Doubts. Debates. Turmoil.
The Dragon of Discouragement had breathed his fire all week, but by Saturday he tired of threats and stood ready to devour me whole. The last post on Eternity that I had planned … never took shape.
Sounds gloomy, I know. Don’t stop reading here, though.
I find comfort in the Psalms. Not only do they remind me of the goodness and unfailing love of God, they also depict writers who are so much like I am—seeking God with all their heart, yet sometimes so utterly paralyzed or sabotaged by human weakness. Many of the prayers in the Psalms I can make my own.
Somewhere I had read that Psalm 40 was “the writer’s psalm.” But it’s also the social worker’s psalm, the bookkeeper’s psalm, the taxi driver’s psalm, the care giver’s psalm, the teacher’s psalm, the mother’s psalm, the father’s psalm, the friend’s psalm ….
So on Sunday morning I went to Psalm 40.
Every now and then, the Scriptures absolutely startle me. Yesterday, that happened again.
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 … (Psalm 40:1-2a)
And I heard the word again, “Wait.”
Have you ever heard someone describing an experience when the Lord’s direction came to them as clearly as if someone had actually spoken? One woman told me once, “It was as clear as if I’d heard a voice saying…”
The closest I’ve come to that was a number of years ago, also during a time of questions and agonizing. Then, the word came clearly: “Wait. See what I have for you. Wait.”
And here, at the beginning of the very psalm I was planning to read as my prayer and cry for help, was the same clear word. Even before my prayer came out, the Word spoke: “Wait patiently for Me.”
There’s so much more in Psalm 40 that gives us comfort. Verse 3 talks about God giving us a new song, making us hymns of praise for what He’s done. Verse 4 exclaims that there is great joy for those who trust the Lord. Verse 5 looks backward to great things He has already done and forward to His plans for us, “too numerous to list.”
But for the present, for me in that hour, the word was “Wait.”
Now when you wait for something, you expect it, you know it’s coming. Wait for God. Expect His rescue. King David had a whole lot of tough weeks; at times he was even so discouraged or frustrated that he felt God had forgotten him. But he always knew rescue would come. He knew that unshakeable hope is found in only one Person and one Place.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken. (Psalm 62:5-6)
Wait quietly? I am much better at stewing and worrying and, really, getting quite carried away with my own fretting.
These words also came, this time from King Jesus: “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” (See John 14:1)
There it is in a nutshell. That’s faith. “Trust me.”
He says Trust me when we are all too aware of our humanity, when our old nature rises up and stomps on our best intentions. He says Trust me when we are doubting, when we’re discouraged, when we feel too weak for the battle. He says Trust me when we’re haunted by the past, fretting about the present, or worrying about the future.
“Don’t let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; and trust me.”
That’s not just a last resort, clinging to a straw when we are desperate. Trusting Him is the ONLY place we can go to live fully the life He died to give us. Trusting Him is the ONE place He wants us to live.
“Just trust me.”
The assurance of my King comes while I wait quietly.