I cry out to you from the depths, Lord—
2 my Lord, listen to my voice!
Let your ears pay close attention to my request for mercy!
3 If you kept track of sins, Lord—
my Lord, who would stand a chance?
4 But forgiveness is with you—
that’s why you are honored.
5 I hope, Lord.
My whole being hopes,
and I wait for God’s promise.
6 My whole being waits for my Lord—
more than the night watch waits for morning;
yes, more than the night watch waits for morning!
7 Israel, wait for the Lord!
Because faithful love is with the Lord;
because great redemption is with our God!
8 He is the one who will redeem Israel
from all its sin.
Have you ever heard about that Marshmallow Experiment out of Stanford in the 70’s? It was a study on delayed gratification: one treat right now or wait to have two treats later. The kids were given a marshmallow and were put in an empty room for 15 minutes with the knowledge that if they didn’t eat it, they would get a second one. The children who waited did better in life later on – better test scores, less substance abuse, less obesity, and had better skills in coping with stress.
Sometimes I wonder, had I been in that experiment as a child, would I have waited. I’d like to think so, though most probably do. Interestingly enough though, knowing me, I probably would have waited NOT because I wanted more reward but because I was told not to eat the marshmallow and I’ve always had a dreadful fear of disappointing people, even from a young age.
In this beautiful Psalm, it reads, “If you kept track of my sins, Lord…who would have a chance?” It rings true of our theology that we cannot earn something as pure and as beautiful as God’s love. It doesn’t matter how hard I try not to disappoint people, I will never be able to earn God’s love so God’s gives it free of charge.
But the Psalmist goes on to say that, “My whole being waits for my Lord”. It is good and right to wait for God’s timing and not try to force God into our timing, but I can’t help but think about that Stanford experiment. When I have been impatient with God and not waited for the Lord, what drives that? Typically it is fear. Whether that fear be of not meeting a deadline or being to busy to include God in on what I’m doing, I’m usually worse off for not waiting for God.
By Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
When do you get impatient with God’s timing? What can you do to better recognize the ways your life is better for waiting on the Lord?
Prayer: Patient God, your grace is a blessing we can never repay. Help us to better see the ways you bless our lives and may your Spirit move patience through us. Amen.