“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.” Mary waited, as a sword swings constantly before her, and the frantic mother and father looking for a lost twelve-year-old find him unapologetically residing in his Father’s house. Martha and Mary waited for their friend and Lord to come heal their brother; but he “stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” Peter waited back in a fishing boat, since every high conceit he had about himself had been unraveled in single night: “I do not know him.” John, the beloved disciple waited, locked away from all human communication on a desolate island as he carried the deep needs of the infant church in his heart.
They waited. We wait. You wait. I wait. And waiting in the night when we do not know when dawn will come is the hardest waiting of all.
Fifteen years ago I began a season of waiting that, had I known how long and how hard the night would be, I wonder if I would have had the courage to settle in. There is a real grace in not knowing the future. One learns gradually to receive the gift for each day, and wait for the dawn to come.
And perhaps, for all those who wait for the Lord in difficult hours with no tangible dawn in sight, there are no words more descriptive, than “ my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning.” (Ps. 130:5,6)
If you follow this blog, you know that I am living at the beach for about three months. “Transitional housing” around Orlando best translates into “off-season rentals” on the coast. I can see the Atlantic Ocean out of the corner of my kitchen window (where the table was rapidly converted to my desk.)
My favorite times to walk the beach are after sunset and before sunrise. I love to watch the changes in the moon as she hangs behind my right shoulder about 10:00 at night. And because I live in Port Canaveral, I love to watch the lights of the cruise ships as they leave port and disappear into destinations unknown. (OK, I dream a little. No airfare. A ten-minute drive to the cruise ports. Great fall sales. Wyatt… No, Carla. Can you spell “closing costs?”)
But I think my soul knows I need to be there at night for a deeper reason. I have been waiting for the dawn for fifteen years. I don’t mean to sound dramatic…it’s just the truth. I had no idea when it would come, where it would come, how it would come: only that it would come, because in the darkness I have been given the treasures of hope. “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and his word I hope.”
Here are the kinds of living words that have sustained me in the darkness: “You did not choose me, but I chose you…” (John 15:16); “I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” (Jeremiah 31;3) “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
The pre-dawn hours must be the most difficult for those who wait for the dawn. It’s almost here, but resources deplete and strength runs low. Hope hangs by a thread that God holds for me, as I try to grope for it again, and every fear, whether from within or without shouts: “the dawn will never come. Why are you wasting your life waiting?”
But the dawn does come, in the world and in our lives. Our heavenly Father delights to give good gifts to his children. His love for us is unwavering, even in the long hours where we have not been able to find him. He does not play tricks with us. If the dawn is slow in coming, it is only because the Father has a different plan for the nature of the day and what it takes to prepare us to receive it.
The dawn is breaking for me, for my family, for our work in the Kingdom. The signs appear on every side, visible and invisible. And on my first morning of pre-dawn watching at the beach, it was as though the sky was punctuated with promise. “Watchman, the dawn has come. Look up and be glad.”
2 thoughts on “As A Watchman Who Waits”
Hi Carla, somehow you got in my feed in LinkedIn, which I rarely use. I enjoyed reading a couple of your posts just now. I love the stories of waiting you connected in this post, something I’ve not heard before. It gave me things to think about. Thanks for sharing your writing. I hope to read more bit by bit.
Thank you, Patti. It’s so good to see you here! I’m glad you found these stories of waiting. Thanks for leaving a comment! I find waiting to be the way God digs me deeper. Excavation by longing. Our efficient God.