Silence of Unanswered Prayer: Reflection on Psalm 40

Waiting For Who Knows What

I don’t like to wait. I’ll admit it. I attempt to find the shortest and quickest lines, the fastest routes, and the quickest recipes, trying to avoid waiting as much as possible. I even avoid those situations where I know I will have to wait!

My aversion doesn’t seem to influence God. I’m not sure that God cares how I feel about waiting. This Psalm reminds me that if I want to be in sync with God, I will have to embrace waiting.

Impatient Waiting

The Psalmist says that he waited patiently, and the Lord turned to him and helped him. God lifted him from his desperate pit and put his feet on solid ground.

Unlike the Psalmist, I don’t wait patiently. When I wait, I am impatient. There is a difference. When I am forced to wait, I impatiently try to take matters into my own hands. I seek to figure out what needs to happen and do my best to make sure it happens as quickly as possible.

The Psalmist knows God can be trusted, so he waits. He waits in the silence of unanswered prayers. He waits when nothing seems to be happening. Even in the darkest pit, he waits knowing that God will one day turn and rescue him.

As he reflects, a song wells up deep within his breast. He doesn’t hold back his praise. He tells all of the awesomeness of God to all who will listen.

Wasted Time?

I don’t like to wait because I believe it is wasted time, but maybe I’m wrong. In verse 11 David writes:

“You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand — you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.”

What if waiting creates opportunities to listen. Like children on a car trip, we can continue impatiently asking, “when will you answer my cries”, but impatient waiting fills our lives with noise.

Patient Waiting

Patient waiting opens us up to listen, if we give ourselves over to God’s will and way, which includes, God’s timing. Our incessant questioning, wondering, and mind racing, gives way to peaceful confidence as we remember, God has gotten us through everything this far, and he will not let us go. He will come to our aid. He will rescue us from the pit.

When the Psalmist finally listened, perhaps in his time of waiting, he understood. God doesn’t require all his sin offerings, but rather a trusting heart waiting patiently in him, taking joy in doing his will. Patient waiting brings peaceful trust ending frenetic running to and fro trying to rescue ourselves by digging out of an impossible to escape pit.

God’s Faithfulness

David remembers God’s faithfulness as he faces more trouble. He cries out to God to come quickly to help him as he faces too many troubles to count. I find it interesting, and so familiar, that after recounting how he waited patiently for the Lord, he asks the Lord to come “quickly” and not “delay.”

Waiting must not be in our DNA, but we can find peace as we wait for God to come to our rescue, knowing that we can trust him to lift us out of our pit. Patient waiting recognizes that while we wait, we do not wait alone. God is with us in the pit while we wait and he desires to speak into our lives.

As you wait, may you hear the voice of the Lord and may you delight and find joy in his will.

More reflections at: http://fuzzythinking.davidmullens.com/category/reflections/morning-reflection/

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