I am proud to be a citizen of the USA. We are extraordinary people and at times we accomplish remarkable things. I was 10 years old when I watched the moon landing with my family. I can still remember the sense of awe and pride I felt as I watched this accomplishment on our small black and white television. I had nothing to do with this, of course. At the time, I was busy playing on our acreage, and eating pears off the two pear trees on my family property. But even at that young age, I understood that this had been a monumental achievement that the government that represented me, my family, and the millions of other citizens had undertaken and the success was a shared victory by all!
There are many other examples of our citizens and leaders tackling big jobs and working toward a common goal. We are good at the things that involve movement. We are people of action and when we can take action, we are often at our best.
Unfortunately, we are not in a good position for action in our fight against COVID-19. What we actually need is the opposite response. We need to shelter in place, limit our movements, social distance from others, and wear a mask when we go out into public. In other words, we need to actively wait. I admit that this is not easy for me and I believe it is not easy for many of us. As I said, we are very good in situations that require action, not as good in situations that require us to wait patiently.
The idea that we need to wait for the Lord is often referenced in the Holy Scripture. The scripture that quickly comes to mind is from Isaiah 40:31 (NRSV):
“but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
This scripture represents a beautiful promise of strength and hope. Our waiting for the Lord is not waiting in vain. God is with us and we will receive divine strength in our waiting. There is comfort in that verse.
A passage from Psalm 130 is perhaps more descriptive of our current situation.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
I love this psalm and have set it to music for mixed voices. I am sure there are times when we all feel that we are in the depths. I know this is true of me. I love the way this poem turns from despair to a remembrance of God’s forgiveness and the idea that I wait for the Lord and that I feel hope in the promises or word of God. I find this a very comforting idea during times when I am overwhelmed by anxiety and fear.
As we are sheltering in place, let us actively wait in prayer and hope, knowing that God is with us in this circumstance and that we are the beloved children of God.
We wait for the Lord and we wait with hope.
Grace & Peace,
- Ray Wheeler Ph.D.