What’s the scripture-story that captures your attention most? Is it Moses parting the waters? Joesph sitting on the throne above his brothers as they bow down? David dancing around like a fool ’cause he just gotta praise?
For me, it’s Peter walking on water. I see, hear, and feel that scene when I read it. And I feel it when Peter falls. I feel like a failure with him.
Maybe I’m so empathetic to Peter because I’ve long identified with Peter. I’m strong. I’m courageous. I’m often found as the leader, or at least the one who tends to speak out of turn. I passionately love the Lord… And I’m ridiculously impulsive.
Not surprisingly, most of my life has been spent trying to obey God when He asks me to wait. The last seven years have been especially difficult. Wait for acceptance. Wait for maturity. Wait for healing. Wait for hope. Just wait.
What is surprising is that I didn’t get it until tonight.
Tonight, I knew I had to get away to pray. I remembered Henry David Thoreau’s words:
“I go to the woods because I wanted to live life deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. To put to rout all that was not life, and not, when I came to die, discover that I have not lived.”
Feeling like I was going to die emotionally (exhaustion, frustration, and discouragement had hounded me for days), I had to go to the woods to pray. Living in an urban area, the woods turned out to be Trinity Christian College.
After wandering the campus, I found a tent that was pitched for the purposes of prayer. (Really). I prayed for what seemed like forever. I wrote. I drew (with my hands, not with paint. See previous post). I just couldn’t get to a place of connecting with God. Finally, I got on my face. It was so dry, I could feel my skin aching for moisture. Until. Until God reminded me of Psalm 13.
Psalm 13 is not a fun Psalm. It states:
1 How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
4 my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.
I’ve always taken this Psalm to be kind of a whinny, submissive writing. “Oh! Woe is me! The Lord hides from me. I’m all alone. But I’m so righteous that I will still praise God.” Bull crap.
I read the Psalm tonight through new eyes. Through the eyes of Isaiah 40:31:
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Why would God hide His face? Why wouldn’t He show up to give us a fresh word, fresh touch of Him? Because He is so GOOD. It’s out of love. He knows that we seek Him because we need strength to persist. He’s set it up that we get strength through waiting for Him. Not with a passive heart. You can’t get in to see the doctor if you walk out of the office. No, you have to sit in the doctor’s office and wait.
And that’s why there’s a praise at the end of the Psalm. Because David waited, with an expectant heart, and God shared a momentary piece of His character. That’s what sustains us. That’s what gives us life. That’s what brings renewal. Not a moment by moment outpouring to us. God’s not in it for giving us drops of water in the dessert. He’s getting us to the oasis. He’s getting us to a place where we get to walk in rest through communion with Him. Psalm 13 was written when David needed to overcome frustration with hope. He wants us to hope. And then He wants to fulfill that promise.
I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to wait on him.