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Psalm 27 for the Weary

May 2013
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Please waitThis morning as I fired up the laptop one more time, a familiar blue screen appeared as it always does right before the login screen appears. The message on the blue screen states, “Please wait . . .”. Sounds like the story of my entire life, especially these past four plus years of unemployment (and I am now eleven days into my fifth year). I’m beginning to think it means, “Please wait . . . until Heaven.” Somehow, seeing those two words again on my laptop screen this morning sent a wave of discouragement over my soul. Can anybody please tell me the meaning of “wait” at this point in time? It seems as if my entire life has been an exercise is waiting . . . . defines “wait” as:

  1. to remain inactive or in a state of repose, as until something expected happens: Waiting for the bus to arrive.
  2. (of things) to be available or in readiness: A letter is waiting for you.
  3. to remain neglected for a time: A matter that can wait.
  4. to postpone or delay something or to be postponed or delayed: We waited a week and then bought the house.
  5. to look forward to eagerly: I’m just waiting for the day somebody knocks him down.

Some of these times of waiting have been very active, such as these past four plus years of unemployment in which I finally stopped counting at 500 the number of jobs I’ve applied for (and I still keep on applying for jobs although the effort seems quite futile at this point in time). And also the very, very, very long term time of waiting (like 40 years and still waiting)–well, that particular result is not up to me and I can do nothing to hurry it along. Therefore, it fits within definition #1 listed above. And now that I’m much older (I’ll be 61 at the end of May), I can relate well to definition #5–to look forward to eagerly–when my faith will finally become sight.

While I’m “up” 98% of the time, occasionally I have days like today . . . wondering when it will ever end, and if it will ever end, and if anybody “out there” even cares. Anybody? I suppose a little bit of self-pity is mixed in at the end of that last sentence. However, as John Donne’s famous poem states, No man is an island,” but there have been times I’ve felt like I’ve been forced to live on this island called unemployment for a very long time now, and I can’t get off of it by myself. I always thought Americans helped each other, but when I’ve really needed help–like right now–nobody has shown up to help.

weary heartOne of the verses I read (well, actually, the entire psalm) when I’m down and feeling like this very long time of unemployment is never going to end is Psalm 27:13, I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” I have always felt that “the land of the living” means right here on this earth, and not just meaning later in Heaven. Here’s the entire Psalm 27 written by King David:

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.

One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.

Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.
Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.

Teach me your way, Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

King David had many foes chasing after him even before he was appointed King (and, of course, many foes chased him while he was King, too). Yet he never took his eyes off of the Lord to provide the help he needed when circumstances looked desperate. In our day, “foes” can represent many things, like long-term unemployment and, obviously, people, too. Whatever the particular obstacles (people, circumstances, or both) we may be facing in our lives that seem to us to be unconquerable and immovable, if we truly believe in Jesus Christ He can and will deliver us from those foes if we keep our eyes on Him and rely on His help for us in any situation, no matter how long the particular trial we find ourselves in may last.

Days of discouragement come to all of us, but for those of us who truly trust in the Lord as the source of our help (Prov. 3:5-6), I hope the words in Psalm 27 give comfort to those who are weary in heart today. The struggle won’t last forever, even though it seems like it will never end. And I’m saying that as a reminder as much to myself as I’m saying it to you. I need to hear it, too.

So no matter what you may be going through, or how long it has been going on, remember to look up and pray . . .

And don’t lose heart . . . (Luke 18:1-8).

YouTube Video: “Hold On, Help is On the Way” (1997) sung by Whitney Houston:

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