October 1, 2022 • Life for Leaders
Scripture — Psalm 130:5-6
I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
The soul that is reminded by the word will point to life and light worth waiting for—light worth watching for in the darkness. The watchman looked for trouble or the dawn of a new day. Whatever a watchman’s objective was to watch for, he or she looked with anticipation of its coming. In this context the watchman anticipates the dawn. And the psalmist paints the comparison to illustrate that his soul waits even more.
In my work, we are often waiting for the resources we need to help others. In that waiting there is plenty of space to find tension. It can be difficult to have the “if you can wait and not be tired by waiting” language of Kipling; the patience of Job, or the “Lord help me to hold out” of James Cleveland. The psalmist reminds me that the questions we are asking (or not answering correctly) could tell us where our soul’s focus is directed.
When in tension while waiting, a good dose of remembering “what can be?” is helpful. While the psalmist’s conditions were not ideal, his soul did not relinquish the fact that something else was going on. Yes, there may be resources missing, inadequate support, failures that abound from frail human beings. But is there something else going on? Is there another way? Is there (objective) hope? The psalmist reiterated that he waited, furthering the point in verse six that it was his hoping-in-God’s-word soul that waited.
Waiting with a “what can be?” disposition takes the reality of the darkness and refuses to consider that the proverbial sun is done running its course. The soul hoping in God’s word remembers that sometimes God comes before destruction. But he has also consistently pulled people out of pits, fish and fire. He has showed up after the destruction of nations, temples and bodies. He is not only the present God when things almost happen. We know him to come sometimes after destruction; three days later, even.
Sometimes dawn takes three days, sometimes it is longer. But the soul that is reminded by the Word will point to life and light worth waiting for—light worth watching for in the darkness. The watchman looked for trouble or the dawn of a new day. Whatever a watchman’s objective was to watch for, he or she looked with anticipation of its coming. In this context the watchman anticipates the dawn. And the psalmist paints the comparison to illustrate that his soul waits even more.
What is a response when the anticipation in your vocation or occupations have not come quickly? What do we do when what we know needs to happen has not yet occurred, and the prolonging is actually causing other problems? How do you endure when destruction has happened and others have moved on? The psalmist tells us that in like circumstances his soul waits, looking for the dawn. He did in life what the group New Direction sings in their song Hold Out:
Weeping may endure for a night
Trouble don’t last always;
Joy comes in the morning
Just wait ’til the morning.
What are the things you should remember from the scripture as you are waiting?
What will morning (God’s presence in your situation) look like?
Go read the entire eight verses of this Psalm. Note verses 7-8. Who does the Psalmist see beyond his own waiting? What does he say is promised that is beyond his own waiting? As you think about the things you’re waiting for, look again and consider who else is waiting also. Look for the dawn and encourage them in what could be for them also.
God who is our Advent, I come asking for forgiveness where I have forgotten to remember to wait for your presence. I thank you for being present to keep my soul longing for you also, and we thank you for this great anticipation of seeing you in glory that is to come. In the meantime, while we wait, please keep the glimpses of what is to come in view in ways our simple minds can handle, so that we will be humbled enough to know that none of us have fully arrived but be encouraged enough to endure this arduous journey by trusting in your Son. In the name of the one who we call the bright and morning star, Amen.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the High Calling archive, hosted by the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: The In-Between Time: How Well Do We Wait?.
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DeLano J. Sheffield is the Business Resource Specialist for Goodwill of MoKan where he connects to people on the fringes, training them to reach their full potential through learning and the power of work; he also is on the frontlines of the advances of the fourth industrial revolution and coaches leaders on diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. He began his career as an architectural engineer then went on to attend seminary. In every part of his life he finds ways to infuse theology into vocation, and strengthen practical connections of faith and daily activity. DeLano lives in Kansas City, Missouri.