Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Devotional 230210

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Thank God for the nourishment of rains. Our soul thirst for God just like desert thirsts for water. How desperate we need the presence of God in our lives each day! My daughter told me about a recent experience she had encountered with her husband. On their way home after church service, her husband tuned into a Christian radio program that he seldom listened. Therefore, she asked him whether he knew he was listening to a preaching program. He said he did. With curiosity she asked, “Didn’t we just hear a sermon from church already?” He said, “I didn’t hear enough of the Word of God. I want more from Him!” I was thrilled to hear this testimony from my daughter. They both attend a marriage seminar offered by their church on every Thursday night for 13 weeks. My daughter is also attending a prayer seminar on Thursday night for 4 weeks. They both desire to want more of God in their lives. Pray that God will satisfy their thirst like deer panted for water.

My life is on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning (Psalm 130:6). Such are the two great realities of Psalm 130: suffering is real, God is real. Suffering is a mark of our existential authenticity; God is proof of our essential and eternal humanity. We accept suffering; we believe in God. The acceptance and the belief both come from “the depths.”

But there is more than a description of reality here; there is a procedure for participating in it. The program is given in two words: wait and hope. The words are at the center of the psalm. “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits or the LORD more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the lord!’’

The words wait and hope are connected with the image of the watchmen waiting through the night for the dawn. The connection provides important insights for the person in trouble who asks, “But surely, there is something for me to do!” The answer is yes, there is something for you to do, or more exactly there is someone you can be; be a watchman.

A watchman is an important person, but he doesn’t do very much. The massive turning of the earth, the immense energies released by the sun—all that goes on apart from him. He does nothing to influence or control such things: he is a watchman. He knows the dawn is coming; there are no doubts concerning that. Meanwhile he is alert to dangers, he comforts restless children or animals until it is time to work or play again in the light of day. ….

Nor would the psalmist have been content to be a watchman if he were not sure of God. The psalmist s and the Christian’s waiting and hoping is based on the conviction that God is actively involved in his creation and vigorously at work in redemption.

Waiting does not mean doing nothing. It is not fatalistic resignation. It means going about our assigned tasks, confident that God will provide the meaning and the conclusions. It is not compelled to work away at keeping up appearances with a bogus spirituality. It is the opposite of desperate and panicky manipulations, of scurrying and worrying.

And hoping is not dreaming. It is not spinning an illusion of fantasy to protect us from our boredom or our pain. It means a confident alert expectation that God will do what he said he will do. It is imagination put in the harness of faith. It is a willingness to let him do it his way and in his time. It is the opposite of making plans that we demand that God put into effect, telling him both how and when to do it. That is not hoping in God but bullying God. “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word 1 hope; my soul waits for the LORD more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.”

It is by His mercy that we find strength to deal with different challenges in life. Wait and hope are two important lessons of Christian living. But for sure they are essential for our spiritual growth.

Love you as fellow watchmen,

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