My posts over the last year have all been sermon manuscripts. Way back when I was told to write (Write this down for the next generation. . . Write so the story can be told in Zion, so God’s praise will be sung. . . – Psalm 102 in The Message), there was an intentionality to my blogging. I believed I was doing it out of obedience. I happened to be assigned to a church last year that required me to have weekly manuscripts to be emailed to church members who could not attend church because of Covid or their particular condition that kept them homebound. In years past, I preached from notes in the pulpit and not a manuscript. Because of blogging, I was now capable of writing manuscripts weekly. My journaling turned to blogging, and my blogging turned to sermonizing. All of this was required of me initially because God spoke to me out of Psalm 102 in The Message.
I have not reflected on verses from the Psalms at all lately. With that in mind, I opened the app to the Daily Office a couple days ago. I focused my attention on the morning psalms, and I found some verses I recognized.
Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; let those who love your salvation say forever, ‘Great is the Lord.’ But as for me, I am poor and needy; come to me speedily, O God. You are my helper and my deliverer; O Lord, do not tarry. – Psalm 70: 4-5
O God, be not far from me; come quickly to help me, O my God. . . . But I shall always wait in patience, and I shall praise you more & more. – Psalm 71: 12, 14
In Psalm 70, I saw the modifier, speedily, and the verb, tarry. It seems to me I blogged before about these verses from Psalm 70. I certainly prayed these verses and others when I longed for the Lord’s intervention many times in the past. Come speedily and do not tarry. Oh yes, I prayed for the Lord to come to us, to our aid and rescue us promptly over the years.
I often tag the books and chapters from the Bible I reference in my posts. I searched for Psalm 70. I found the post I wrote about this psalm back in 2014. In that post, I included a description of a wooden Jesus which was on a trailer ahead of me while I drove on US 431, heading up to Sand Mountain in north Alabama. We were in the process of moving from Sand Mountain to the second floor of my brother-in-law’s home in Anniston. This past week, Facebook invited me to repost a memory from 2014 that included a photo of that wooden Jesus. I did, but it’s truly ironic that same internet memory was what I wrote about seven years ago that included Psalm 70 which I read this week. Anyway, I find it ironic.
In Psalm 71, the petition that caught me, first, was, “Do not be far from me; come quickly to help me.” “Come quickly” is synonymous with “Come to me speedily.” But in verse 14, David wrote, “But I shall always wait in patience, and I shall praise you more and more.” In waiting patiently, David said he’d praise the Lord more and more. In the waiting, worship would increase.
Perhaps some peace and confidence in the Lord came to him in the days of waiting. Come speedily and do not tarry and come quickly, which are certainly honest petitions. The human condition carries us to eddies and channels where we taste the best of life, and the worst of what life can unveil to us. It is an honest petition to the God of grace for the Lord to come swiftly, quickly, without tarrying to rescue us. David’s recognizable plea for God to come hastily fell to “I shall always wait in patience, and I shall praise you more and more.” Alleluia. I like the shift from discomfort of fear and impatience to always waiting in patience and praising the Lord increasingly. The increase could be in opportunities and amount of time in every opportunity. Shifting from fear and impatience to waiting patiently and praising increasingly only comes about in our souls after experiencing God’s faithfulness in the swift acts of rescue and the delayed seasons of the harvest of relief and mercy. Alleluia. Lord, have mercy. Let it be so.
My mental and emotional focus will not be the need for the Lord to arrive as our deliverer very soon. My focus will be waiting patiently and worshipping increasingly. Experience in witnessing the Lord saving and helping in his time aids my patience. I will wait patiently and praise you, great God, more and more because you can be trusted.
I just listened to our friend, Mable, on Facebook. Her husband was stricken with Covid last year. It’s a miracle he’s alive. The assistance they received of $300 per week will run out along with unemployment in July. They need the Lord to come speedily, quickly and do not tarry. They don’t have the luxury of waiting patiently. Great God, come to them speedily and do not tarry. I so pray and I so believe.
It is not an indictment on anyone’s faith and patience to pray for the Lord to come quickly because they need heavenly intervention. I find myself looking at Psalm 70 and reading the prayer for God’s swift action to come and knowing what that felt like to pray and believe accordingly. These days, Psalm 71 seems to capture my condition more accurately. I still pray for God’s immediate attention to bring grace and mercy, and I also know what it means to live in a state of waiting for what appears to be a delay on the Lord’s part. I’m left with the growing awareness that patience is a good fruit of the Spirit. It is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence having his way in me.
This morning, I ran across a new song by Jackson Browne I saved on my phone a few weeks ago but forgot about. It’s entitled, A Little Soon to Say.
I came for inspiration,
I came looking for grace
And found my reflection
In every passing face
In everyone who gathered
Standing on that shore
Searching the horizon
Not knowin’ what exactly for
Searchin’ the horizon
For what we can’t quite see
When all we’ve ever needed
Has been there all along inside of you and me
I wanna see you holding out your light
I wanna see you light the way
But whether everything will be alright
It’s just a little soon to say
These lyrics strike me as what I see in the verses of Psalm 71. Lord, I want you to come to help me, but I know what it is to wait patiently for you, knowing you can be trusted. And as I wait, you come along in the ways you choose. I’ll see your grace and mercy emerge like a flower bud in the garden. But whether everything will be alright, it’s just a little soon to say.
I’m not discouraged by these lyrics. They don’t fall flat and throw a bucket of water on the embers of my faith. They simply portray how I have felt waiting for the Lord, and waiting is not a waste of time. Waiting can be coupled with worship increasingly, worshipping our God who is worthy of praise and who can be trusted. I’ve seen his works of grace and mercy. I don’t mind waiting. How it will all come about, it’s just a little soon to say.