I missed the coming of spring. Still reaching into my closet for boots, sweatshirts and a scarf to wrap around my neck; the warm air surprises me. Did spring come? I remember seeing buttercups and then tulips, but I haven’t stopped to listen to the birds that herald season’s arrival. It’s not too late.
The rush of action to navigate a pandemic is massive. People who plan and prepare for years are suddenly called into full engagement with what is no longer a “table-top exercise” or “drill”. Medical professionals who are standing at bedsides and on full alert in ER’s across the world every day are suddenly in “disaster” mode that doesn’t end in 48 hours but stretches out with uncertainty. Faith communities and social services are on a “mission” that doesn’t end with a flight home telling stories 7 days later; it just continues with each day offering its own agenda. Many are at home wondering what to do with the time. Pandemic.
When these moments in history come, what we have is what we’ve been gathering for a long time. If stress and busyness and frenzy have been packed into our storehouse, it will be fed by the circumstances swirling all around us. If denial and reptile brain have been our way of moving through the days, this moment will likely leave us more disengaged and dazed, unaware of the gift of life passing through our living rooms, offices and neighborhoods. If you have found a rhythm for life that is grounded in practices that help you keep perspective, that rhythm will help you in disruption, offering a steadiness in chaos. You get the picture – we are showing up in COVID19 with whatever we’ve been storing in our minds and spirits; that is our reality. It’s not too late to notice, and it’s not too late to adjust.
Psalm 130 is a prayer of someone who is suffering, and yet fully knows that God is still present, and God will redeem the situation. There is a rhythm; a grounding faith. The one who cries out to God understands the time of waiting and watching as a particular space where hope will come.
1-2 Help, God—the bottom has fallen out of my life!
Master, hear my cry for help!
Listen hard! Open your ears!
Listen to my cries for mercy.
3-4 If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings,
who would stand a chance?
As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit,
and that’s why you’re worshiped.
Waiting and watching as an act of trust in God’s steadfast presence and mercy, has its own way of shaping our lives. The one who is watching and waiting is present. They see things others don’t see. They are attentive in stretches of boredom and listening when insights come. The one who is watching and waiting stays on duty. His eyes are always open. The more she waits and watches – the more she sees. Clarity will come like the clearing of a thick morning fog. Look; there it is.
5-6 I pray to God—my life a prayer—
and wait for what he’ll say and do.
My life’s on the line before God, my Lord,
waiting and watching till morning,
waiting and watching till morning.
Let’s not miss the moment. While many are busy serving and working as hard as they can to help us navigate these days, let everyone who has been given the gift of time, to use it wisely. Are you one who is asked to watch and wait? Are you the “on duty” eyes paying attention to the empty space God is offering; letting it sit open and ready until the time is fulfilled? Don’t miss the moment.
Showing up with hope and trust enough to simply “be” in this time is a gift to the people around you and to the world. We do not have to cover anything up or distract ourselves from the reality. It is OK to see both suffering and hope. It is HUMAN and beautiful to be embrace the wholeness of how God created us. We don’t have to pretend, and we don’t have to disguise. We can also look for the gifts of God being given in the midst of even this.
Be present. Be watchful. Be patient. Our hope comes from the one who has already set the kingdom of God in place, and no matter the situation at any given time in history – our God is faithful; the redemption of the world is always being fulfilled.
Don’t miss the moments; each one is a gift. And when the moments come where the love you have received from God is overflowing, there is a person within your reach by phone, message, through the window, in your home and neighborhood, or maybe right next to you. Perhaps that is a place to begin sharing.
7-8O Israel, wait and watch for God—
with God’s arrival comes love,
with God’s arrival comes generous redemption.
No doubt about it—he’ll redeem Israel,
buy back Israel from captivity to sin.
– Psalm 130
Lord, help us not to be afraid to be like watchmen – waiting and watching. Help us to be present in the now and to embrace what you give us in this time that will not return. For today – let us not regret what has been, nor project what tomorrow will be. Ground us in the “now” we are given and help us to wait, watch and stand in the hope that is YOU. Your kingdom is being fulfilled. There is not a time when you are not bringing the fullness of your Love on earth as it is in heaven. That is our steadfast hope and truth. Help us to embrace your Love today. As we receive, we are able share with others. We love you, Lord, and we trust you completely. Thank you for guiding us through these days.
While I’m Waiting – Travis Greene