For What Do You Wait?
From Psalm 39
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?” (Psalm 39:7 ESV)
I’m waiting to know whether she’s okay, whether her heart’s still beating, whether when we drive back home from the hospital tonight, she will still be with me and she will be alive.
I’m waiting to know whether he’s coming home. He hasn’t called. I don’t know where he is. I don’t know where his mind is—what he’s thinking or planning or where this is all going.
I’m waiting to know what’s wrong. Why do I feel this way? Why isn’t the treatment working, and why can’t the doctors give me a clear answer? When will this go away? Will this go away?
For what do you wait?
Maybe you fit into one of the scenarios above. Maybe, like me, you’ve fit into all of them in different seasons, for different reasons, in the past. And maybe this is why a book like Psalms speaks of waiting so often (a form of the word “wait” appears twenty-four times).
But in Psalms, the question “For what do I wait?” has only one answer:
“For you I wait all the day long.” (Psalm 25:5)
“Wait for the Lord; be strong … wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)
“Wait for the Lord and keep his way.” (Psalm 37:34)
Over and over, the faithful wait for the Lord.
All of these psalms are credited to David, who, it’s no exaggeration to say, experienced a lifetime of stressful occasions for waiting: he waited to know whether his infant son would survive (2 Samuel 12); whether his adult son, Absalom, would return home in peace (2 Samuel 15); and whether King Saul would succeed in pursuing him and taking his life (1 Samuel 23).
Yet, through it all, David writes, “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you” (Psalm 39:7).
In the Hebrew, the word for “wait” in the verses above is qavah, a word that means “to expect” but also “to bind together (perhaps by twisting)” (Strong’s lexicon). I couldn’t help but think of the times I’d sat in a doctor’s office or a passenger’s seat, knitting supplies in tow, twisting yarn around my fingers while making a washcloth or scarf for a friend.
It was a productive way to spend my time while waiting for what came next.
I wonder, what can you bind, twist, stitch together of God today while you wait for what comes next? What promises can you hold between your fingers? What past instances of faithfulness can you weave together in your heart?
Whatever you’re going through, whatever you’re hoping will be the outcome, focus your heart and attention on Him. Life doesn’t always go the way we think it will. People don’t always do what we think they should. But the Lord—He is consistent, He is faithful, He is ever in control. Wait for and hope in Him, knowing that, whatever remains uncertain, promises like these hold true:
“The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble” (Psalm 37:39).
Next week’s reading: Psalm 42–49.