Waiting for Divine Redemption
A Song of Ascents.
1Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
2 Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!
3If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
4But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.
5I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
7O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
8It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.
I have learned what it means to wait for morning. More than any watchmen. Our son Laine was born in September. I went into labor at 4:50 am on Tuesday morning and gave birth on Wednesday night at 11:02 pm. You can count the hours if you want but my count was 42. If you are expecting a child, rest assured, I would do it all over again because what I got was so much better than the anguish I suffered. I labored for 38 hours and pushed for 4. My husband never left my side and I could not have persevered without him. As you can imagine, the whole ordeal made a profound impact on me. My body suffered to bring life into the world.
There is no way that I can compare what I went through to the suffering of Christ, but when I think of forgiveness, I cannot help but think of Christ's labor. He labored to bring forgiveness into the world. As the Psalmist says, "there is forgiveness with you." I think that because forgiveness cost Christ so dearly, we are uncomfortable with the enormity of it. I often find myself trying to deserve forgiveness. No person can deserve the love that it takes to nurture and deliver a baby, and no one can deserve forgiveness. But I want to respond to Christ's sacrifice: how?
What we should do is learn to wait on the Lord actively. I want to show you an example of active waiting. My husband, Luke, helped me deliver our child by actively waiting. I was never alone. He was by my side the whole time and even missed the moment of Laine's birth because his eyes were locked onto my face giving me the strength to push one last time. He never tired of trying to help me labor well and safely. He followed me around our house while we were there and helped me change positions and counted minutes and contractions. In the hospital, he was the voice to which I clung. I have very few memories of labor, but what I do remember is his voice guiding me through the minutes. My vocabulary is unequal to the task of describing the profound way that Luke was with me. Maybe I was the waiter and Luke was the waitee. Either way, I have learned something about how God wants us to wait. One the one hand, if I could manage to focus on God the way that I was focused on Luke, my periods of waiting could truly be fruitful. Or, conversly, if I could consider my waiting time as active and pursue my disciplines the way that Luke pursued being a labor coach, I could experience the growth God has intended for this time.
As we return to worship this week, I urge you to look at the green vestments of "ordinary" time and rejoice. Now is the time of great growth. We can choose to reject simply attending worship and embrace actively waiting on God. More than the watchmen wait for morning.