David is sharing the ‘secret of his success’ with any who will listen. His hope is in God alone! Wealth, power, fame and any of man’s boasts hold nothing for David.
The HARDEST part for me in David’s ‘recipe’ is found in verse one and verse five. When looking at them both side by side I noticed a subtle difference that is very important. “For God alone my soul waits in silence” (verse 1a). “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence” (verse 5a). In the first instance, David tells us that he is doing the thing that brings him the most strength; waiting is silence on God. The second instance, David is calling to his troubled soul to return to the silent waiting that brings him strength.
I have a hard time waiting, especially in silence. My daughter needed me to help her master a skill today for her business. It involved several fairly short periods of waiting. I found that I could not wait in silence because it made the time seem to stretch on FOREVER and magnify any discomfort I was feeling. When I talked with her the time flew by and the process was much more comfortable.
When it comes to asking God for help or waiting on his direction, waiting in silence is difficult. I want to keep searching for answers. I tend to try and ‘help’ God in His plans. One of my favorite sayings of the past was, “I KNOW HE will do it in His time, I just wish He would wind His watch!” NOT what I would call waiting and especially not silent in the waiting.
It takes the peace of the Holy Spirit to accomplish ‘waiting’ for me. Honestly, the only time I can put my finger on a time when I silently waited was when my husband was in the hospital for open heart surgery. I’ve told parts of this story before so I won’t go into great detail. He had trouble coming off the ventilator following surgery. When they finally did get him off, his lungs had significant mucus built up in them and he couldn’t cough it out. The staff was out of easy options to try and help him. That night as I went to my place to sleep I put him in God’s hands again. In the middle of the night I was awakened by an urgent need to pray. I prayed in the Spirit for what felt like hours before feeling a release in my spirit. I praised and danced because of the answer for a little while. Then I wanted to rush down to his room and check out the results of this spiritual battle. But I felt I was being told to wait instead. I lay down on the couch I was using for a bed and let the peace of the Holy Spirit sing me to sleep. There was nothing more for me to do but wait in silence. When morning came I was released from the waiting and found that God had worked WONDERS during the night for my husband. And for me in giving me peace to let Him have ALL the reins.
David knows that in the waiting there is hope and salvation. “From Him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken” (verses 1b-2). “For my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken” (verse 5b-6). CERTIANLY worth the wait!
I was just thinking about all the different ways a person can “wait.” There are three different categories of waiting. One is active, one is passive, and the last is a combination of the two. I’m not certain I said that right but you can judge for yourself in how I break them down.
The ‘active’ form of waiting brings to mind a waiter in a restaurant. This person moves about the establishment seeing to the needs of the people. Be it taking their orders and delivering their food to circulating with specific supplies (i.e. water, coffee,…) to ensure everyone has as much as they wish. This kind of waiting occupies the waiter’s time and attention and doesn’t stop until all the recipients of his/her waiting have left satisfied.
The ‘passive’ form of waiting involves passing time in the anticipation of something else occurring. This brings to mind someone waiting on a bus. There is nothing the person can do to hurry the situation along. The event arrives in its own time schedule. The waiter simply waits for the appropriate time or event.
The combined form of waiting brings to mind pregnant woman. There is no set time when the event of birth will occur but there are things need to be done during the waiting. Clothing, diapers, bedding, and all other kinds of baby supplies need to be gathered during the ‘waiting’ time. In the final stages, supplies for delivering the baby must be prepared and more ‘waiters’ join in the process. The mother ‘waits’ as her body completes the work to be done. The coach attends to the mother’s personal needs as she progresses through labor. The medical staff monitors the progress and prepares the place of birth as the time approaches. In a normal labor and delivery all have wait passively for the event but they are also active in making preparations and anticipation.
When thinking about these three categories I realized that there are two more components that apply to all the categories of waiting. All can be done as patients or impatient and all can be done with attention or distraction.
Let’s look back at our examples and I will try to explain what I mean by this. You could probably figure it out yourself but I have a few examples I want to share.
The restaurant waiter who is impatient is NO ONE’s friend! They are rushing patrons from their seats, hurrying them in their orders, rushing through every step of the process. A distracted waiter is one who gets caught up in his/her own cares and neglects the customers. She/He may be looking at their phone, engaging in conversation with other workers, or simply not paying attention to what is going on around them. Often they are short tempered with the customers and their tips usually reflect their attitude.
Someone waiting for the bus can exhibit the same attitudes. An impatient waiter will frequently check his/her watch, crane their head around obscuring objects to see if the bus is approaching yet. A distracted waiter uses other means to pass the time of waiting. He could read a book, talk to others who are also waiting, or even take a short nap. I have been in this waiting position MANY times and I tend to fall in the impatient group. When my children were with me in these situations we would play a game that was ‘supposed to’ hurry the bus along. In Germany on the military post, the busses didn’t have exact schedules. They were always approximate so the children and I would call out “Here bussie, bussie, bussie” in hopes of getting it to us sooner. The longer we waited the more impatient the words sounded. Never yelling but often growling out between clenched teeth. The kids thought it was great fun and it kept them occupied. We never called the regular German busses because they were ALWAYS RIGHT on schedule.
Our last group was the mother who was both passive and active. The impatient mother does everything she can think of to hurry the process along. My impatience drove me to use castor oil. It helped speed things along but also came with its own ‘consequences’. In my second delivery I also had a distracted ‘coach’. My husband got wrapped up in reading a magazine and ignored me. He didn’t respond to my voice at all and only put the book down after I smacked him to get his attention.
I do a LOT of ‘waiting’ in my life now. I am my husband’s caregiver and I have to make sure his needs are met. Sometimes I’m the ‘restaurant’ waiter, serving food and ensuring that he has everything he needs. Sometimes I’m patient and attentive during these activities. Other times, not so much. I may grumble because he is on his ‘third lunch’ and I was busy doing something else when he decided he was hungry. Sometimes he has to remind me that he needs a napkin or a drink because I got caught up taking care of the dog instead.
I do a fair amount of passive waiting too while he sleeps. I wait for him to wake and tell me of his needs. Most times I do the ‘distracted’ waiting by filling my down time with something else. Writing, sewing or watching television are a few of my distractions. Other times I’m watching the clock and the monitor in anticipation of him coming to the end of his usual sleep time. Right now on the monitor I can tell he is waking as he reaches behind him and grabs the dog’s paw who is lying beside him and smacks is up and down on the bed.
Most of my waiting is the combination type where I set my husband up for a task and then complete several others while he is working on his. Morning time is the biggest of these. While he sits and uses the bathroom I peel his banana, prepare his oatmeal, fix his chocolate milk, gather our medication, and sometimes even feed the dog before he tells me he is finished. Sometimes I have to check in with him and ask if he is finished because he gets distracted or falls back asleep. I am not always the most patient of ‘waiters’ and my impatience shows. Tapping a foot, checking in over and over again, even sometimes sharp tones or sighs. These never go over well and usually leave me feeling angry at myself. These are the times I’m often repenting for and asking God for help with. I wish I could always be a patient and attentive waiter in all categories.
I wonder which category of ‘waiting’ David was calling us to. Whichever it was I can bet it was to be done with patience and attention. God has times where He puts us in places of service. We are to wait on others as examples of His love. He also calls us to seasons of simply being still and waiting. (In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, these are the hardest for me.) We are to wait for HIM to work something out first before we move into the next thing He has for us. And there are times He calls us to the combined form of waiting where we wait but prepare in the meantime. This last one is how we are to be with His return. We are to wait expectantly and be ready at all times. There is much work to do before that day. Don’t ‘wait’ until it’s too late. Work up to the moment of His return while also waiting with patience as the days pass.
Father God, You know how ‘unskilled’ I am at waiting. Maybe that’s why You have given me so MANY chances to practice! I believe I am getting better but I am NOT where I want to be. I want to be patient, even when those I’m serving aren’t. I want to be attentive without being ‘creepy’. And I want to ALWAYS be ready for whatever You have for me. Help me with my attitude. I know this is a scary prayer because asking for things like this usually end up in opportunities to practice the skills requested. But I practice on an hourly basis. Help me get better at the patience part of this more than anything else. Even when I’m being rushed from ‘outside’ don’t let me be rushed ‘inside’ and respond in less than loving ways.
Thank You Father for giving me David’s ‘recipe’ for hope. Help me learn to wait silently; whatever that may look like at the time.