‘Wait quietly for the Lord, be patient till he comes;
do not envy those who gain their ends,
or be vexed at their success.’ (Psalm 37.7 REB)
More than once I heard my dad say, “I am not a patient person, and so whenever in my life I’ve really wanted something, God has made me wait for it.”
Of course — how else did we think God was going to teach us to be patient? You grow muscles by exercising your body. You grow patience by exercising your ability to wait without fretting.
In this psalm what is in view is the good fortune of the wicked, and the fact that God seems to take so long to answer the prayers of the righteous. The righteous person is praying, yes, but is also fuming. “How come that wicked person gets to jump to the front of the lineup? What sort of universe is this?”
What sort of universe indeed! If the purpose of the universe is to give me everything I want as quickly as possible, then it’s certainly suffering from a design flaw! On the other hand, if the universe has a higher purpose, which includes teaching us to be mature people who are able to wait without fretting, then maybe it’s not such a bad design after all.
God, help me learn to wait quietly for you, and to be patent until you come. Amen.
(Today’s One-Year Bible readings are Leviticus 6:1 – 7:27, Mark 3:7-30, Psalm 37:1-11, and Proverbs 10:3-4)