Watch for the Morning

Friday, April 11

4-11By Jeanne Davis of Lamoni, Iowa, USA

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! …I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem. It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.

—Psalm 130: 1–2, 5–8

Psalms 120–134 are the “ascent psalms.” Historians believe people sang these songs on pilgrimages to Jerusalem. The psalmist cries out with a personal lament, identifying his placement, “Out of the depths…” He is in a dark hole of trouble, hoping God will hear his cry.

This psalm is also one of the seven penitential psalms used for centuries during the Lenten season. It gives voice to our need for repentance and God’s redemption. The psalms offer a way for us to cry out to the Lord.

Psalm 130 suggests images that resonate with personal feelings of despair over soulful struggles. By reading or singing these words, our voices continue the song. We join with millions who cry for help. The emotions revealed here recognize our common plight and tell of faith and hope in a forgiving God. The psalmist isn’t giving up. He isn’t passive. He brings hope, verifying, “there is forgiveness with you,”  and then waiting for what the psalmist knows will come.

“Waiting” for the Lord does not mean to quit or to stop the journey. Waiting fills us with anticipation…“more than those who watch for the morning.”

When my newborn son couldn’t sleep at night he cried for hours. One of the few ways to ease his misery was to hold him close and walk the floor. I would cry with him some nights, and this psalm gave me words to chant, gave me hope as I watched for the morning.

Everything seems worse at night. When the sun rises the new day brings an outlook with new possibilities. It’s as if one has crawled out of the depth of the dark night and ascended into the light. Then the psalmist moves outside his personal lament. He urges Israel to hope in the Lord and again testifies of God’s powerful redeeming grace. He asks people to join his voice and wait, not alone, but together for what we know— God’s great power to redeem.

Prayer for Peace
Stay with us through our dark nights, God, until we feel your light on our faces and in our hearts—until we feel Christ’s peace, which we can share.

Spiritual Practice: Psalm Writing
The psalms are prayers of honesty and trust. The psalmist trusts God’s presence in times of fear and failure, joy and plenty, growth and change. Write a short psalm-prayer expressing to God the truth about your physical, emotional, and spiritual state. What are your deepest feelings, longings, and needs? What prayer of praise, intercession, or petition flows from you as you consider your life and the life of God’s world?

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will wait for the morning with one who cries alone.

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