Before our daughter could walk, I would set her on the floor on a blanket with a few toys while I did the dishes or dusted or opened the mail. She always played happily by herself – as long as I stayed within sight. If I stepped into the next room for even a minute: “Waaaaaaah!” She cried like she’d been abandoned.
The children of Israel acted like that when God freed them from Egypt. Like babies, they felt safe only when God was in plain sight (or at least was immediately evident in smoke and fire or the provision of water or food). The second they were in need, they panicked and started to grumble and fear. “Waaaaaah…..!” they cried. They forgot God’s power and care and assumed they had been abandoned.
“Look!” I want to shout at them. “Can’t you see his love? Just wait and he will come through!” But I have an advantage, reading about Israel in the desert. I have the whole story spread out before me and they are stuck in the beginning.
If only it was easy to step back and get that “eternal perspective” on my own life! Because even having known the power of God and his loving, caring presence in my life, there are times when I find myself stuck at this point in my story. My eyes turn from God and look at my situation, or they strain to penetrate the future, and I stumble. Like the children of Israel, I think God has gone away and I grumble and wail. Like my infant daughter, I think I have been abandoned.
“Lord, make haste to help me!” I cry. And sometimes his answer is, simply, Wait. I’m here, though you can’t see me. Trust in my love for you.
When I can’t find it in me to do that, Psalm 62 is a great help. It doesn’t just tell me to wait, or even tell me how to wait. It helps me wait when I meditate on it and allow the Holy Spirit to pray it in me and through me.
It starts like this:
For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly moved. (vss. 1-2)
The psalmist knows this in his head but it’s as though he’s trying to convince his heart. Very real enemies are after him and he’s starting to feel “like a leaning wall, a tottering fence” (vs. 3). “How long” will you continue? He cries. Must he wait forever?
“For God alone my soul waits in silence,” he repeats in vs. 5. Only this time, with a difference that doesn’t come across in this RSVCE translation. In Hebrew, it’s a command:
For God alone, my soul, wait in silence! For my hope is from him.
The general idea in vs. 1 that salvation comes from God becomes the psalmist’s personal hope. He grabs onto that hope and tells his soul to wait, to be silent – to rest in the knowledge of who God is and what that means for him. As his soul settles in confidence, he can declare:
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my deliverance and my honor;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God. (vss. 6-7)
Let these verses soak into your heart and feel how your soul starts to move in sync with the psalmist’s. His soul has moved into God’s mighty fortress and now he calls out to the rest of us:
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
[…] power belongs to God;
… to thee, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. (vss. 8, 11-12)
God loves you! He loves you more than I love my daughter, more than you love those you watch over and care for. The wise parent knows when leaving a child alone for a time builds strength and confidence and faith and character . . . and when it’s time to step in and help. My visible absence didn’t mean my eye wasn’t on my girl or that my ear didn’t hear or that I wasn’t ready to help. God isn’t just loving, he IS love. In his very being, he is faithful, steadfast, merciful love. “Pour out your heart before him” and wait in silent peace.
May God richly bless you as you read his word!
© 2016 Sarah Christmyer
Read the first post in this series: Lord, Make Haste to Help Me!