What Are You Waiting For?

MP900442844When someone asks you, “what are you waiting for?”, a number of responses may jump to your lips:

  • “The start of the football season.”
  • “A response to that job application I sent in.”
  • “That special someone to come along.”

Waiting is a regular part of our lives, but it is not something we are always very good at.

Where are you?
In Psalm 130, the writer cries out to God from the depths (verses 1-2). For the Israelites, the depths convey a place of fear, confusion, or trouble. Pharaoh and the Egyptian army “sank to the depths like a stone” when the Red Sea closed over them in their pursuit of God’s people (Exodus 15:5). When Jonah was rescued from death in the seas by God’s provision of a great fish, he said: “You hurled me into the depths…all Your waves and breakers swept over me” (Jonah 2:3). The next couple of verses help us see what the depths mean for the psalmist: “if You, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?” This writer is speaking from a place of distress, troubled by sin. Where are you today? Are you clambering for help in the depths? Are you entwined in the trouble of sin? Are you sinking under the weight of difficulties?

Waiting for the Lord
It’s in this place of distress that the psalmist has to wait. There are many things we might wait for when we are in distress. We might wait for clear answers, provision, friends, distractions, alleviation of suffering, or something else. But in the midst of whatever else the psalmist might be waiting for, we know that he is waiting for the Lord. He is not just waiting, however, but waiting fully: “my whole being waits” (verse 5). This is not just half-hearted anticipation, but a waiting that echoes through every ounce of his person with longing for God. It is a longing that is more than mere emotion, which comes and goes. It is a waiting rooted in God’s steadfast truth: “in His word I put my hope” (verse 5). It is a waiting that surpasses the weary longing of the third-shift worker for the rays of morning light: “I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning” (verse 6). So this is a whole-person, deep-rooted, eager anticipation for the Lord to show up.

Hopeful Waiting Because He is the Lord
But there is something else we don’t want to miss in Psalm 130. The writer of this psalm is waiting for the Lord while simultaneously telling us the reason why it is right to put our hope in the Lord. The writer is not waiting in wild desperation. No, the writer is hopeful because of who God is and what God does. This is conveyed in two parts. Part one of the hopeful waiting is this: “For with the Lord is unfailing love” (verse 7). God is faithfully loving toward us because He cannot take a detour from His nature and ways. The powerful little Hebrew word used here is hesed. It conveys both God’s powerful love and His steady resolve toward humanity. God is who He says He is and will do what He said He will do. The second part of the hopeful waiting is this fact: “with Him is full redemption” (verse 7). God will not leave us on the rubble and trash heap of our sin. He not only forgives us because of His faithful love, but He brings beauty out of the ashes of our lives. He does not partially redeem us, but fully redeems us. He does not redeem us from some of our sins, but redeems us “from all [our] sins” (verse 8).

Crying out from the depths. Waiting for God with hope birthed from God’s unchanging character. Now, that is something worth waiting for.

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