Waiting for God2:20 AM
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
-- Psalm 130 --
Nighttime brings about the craziest sort of things -- weird dreams, brand-new thoughts, discouragement, exhaustion, monsters in the closet and aliens underneath the bed. My sister tells me she never allows herself to make decisions in the night. I don't either. So many times I get these brilliant ideas around 8 PM, crawl into bed around 11, wake up sometime at 2:30 AM and quickly find so many things wrong with my former dreams. I either get cold feet or get bored or think, "Bailey, you come up with the most idiotic things even with your eyes wide open."
I get wide-awake night terrors, too: Why can't I do this right? What's God doing? Why is this so hard? Why does God take forever?
Those times when you struggle with a spiritual burden or a weight from the future exponentially become more impossible during the night. You toss and turn, begging for sleep to come and make short the eight hours of life you must get through before morning starts and the world wakes up again. Nighttime's full of discouragement and loneliness. Nobody's up to speak a kind word or give a hug or even just distract you from your dark thoughts. The house is silent, and everybody else seems to be sleeping just fine.
No, I do not like the nighttime that takes forever to turn into morning.
Lately, my life feels like a nighttime. I'm praying for important things to happen -- good things, things I know God desires -- I'm praying for change -- I'm praying for light to show up on the horizon -- and if that doesn't happen, I'm praying for at least the peace to numb the tears and pain and eternal waiting.
Nothing happens. And it's not that things won't happen. It's just that they're not happening now. It's just that I don't know. I'm waiting to find out. I only have hope -- not facts, not a prophecy, not a guarantee. I don't see the future. I know only that God listens, that God's coming to meet me where I am, but the morning is not yet here. I'm a watchman, sitting out on the parapet, dangling my feet impatiently, watching the colors of the sky shift from black into navy ribbons and then hopefully -- maybe -- pleaseGodletitbe -- the brilliant sunset. It's still pitch black, with a cold wind blowing, and it's lonely and it's frustrating and it's disheartening. Of course I believe in the sun, in the morning, but still, I've got eight hours to kill before the next day starts.
I used to think that the Christian life was all about arriving and getting and being full. It is, but it's not. We've got twenty-four hours a day for many, many years. Much of it is waiting. God shows up and works miracles and then seems to back off. He doesn't really, but it feels that way, and then we're left waiting.
The Christian life is about longing. We groan along with creation, waiting for full restoration. We cry with John, "Come quickly, Lord Jesus!" because this life is hard and we want to see Him face to face. We hope, we wait, we ask, we knock, we run, we stand in the watchman's place awaiting morning.
Right now, my heart breaks with longing. I am tired of the things of the world, tired of not knowing fully, not seeing fully, not loving fully, not being fully content. I am tired of my sin and of pain and of colds and of exhaustion. I want, I long, I pine, I wait. I cry myself to sleep hoping that my best friend finds God; I ache for the ones struggling to follow Christ; I bang my head over those who just won't listen -- me included.
I pace back and forth at the watchman's post. I'm waiting. I know He's coming, coming with full blaze of glory and steadfast love and eternal rest. And then I won't be waiting anymore.
But for now, I wait. And it's hard, and there are tears, and sometimes I'm tempted to quit my post. But God is even more real than the morning, and the morning always comes.