Podcast: ‘Waiting’ – Reflection by Canon Robert

Canon Robert Vun, Canon Missioner, reflects on ‘Waiting’
An audio version (podcast) of this reflection is available to listen to here.

The Collect of the Week
Let us pray:
We thank you, heavenly Father,
that you have delivered us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:
we pray that
as by his death he has recalled us to life,
so by his presence abiding in us he may raise us
to joys eternal;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.   A reading from the Book of Psalms,

Psalm 40

I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord. Happy are those who make
the Lord their trust,
who do not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after false gods.
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts towards us;
none can compare with you.
Were I to proclaim and tell of them,
they would be more than can be counted. Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt-offering and sin-offering
you have not required.
Then I said, ‘Here I am;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.’ I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
see, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation. Do not, O Lord, withhold
your mercy from me;
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness
keep me safe for ever.
For evils have encompassed me
without number;
my iniquities have overtaken me,
until I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails me. Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Let all those be put to shame and confusion
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonour
who desire my hurt.
Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, ‘Aha, Aha!’ But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, ‘Great is the Lord!’
As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God.  

In the Army, there is a favourite saying which is “Hurry up and wait”. We are often hurried-up to be at a certain place, at a certain time with the right gear for a certain task – and almost inevitably told to wait there in full readiness for action. It is common for the wait to be a few hours before being told what is next.

I feel the same now as we go into the full lock-down phase. WAIT – fully dressed with nowhere to go and fully ready but unable to do what I prepared for. It is frustrating, it is disappointing, it is boring and it is a bit scary as I do not know what tomorrow will bring.  

Yet in Psalm 40:1, the Psalmist says that he “waited patiently”. The original meaning of these phrase means “In my waiting, I waited”. In saying that, the Psalmist reminds us that waiting need not be time-wasting bored idleness. Waiting can be busy event. Many things can be achieved during and through our waiting. Waiting has a great advantage to accomplish many needy things we did not have the time nor the energy to attempt in our busy former life.

Waiting is also very good in enabling us to refocus on what we are doing and where we are going with our lives. It is a most opportune time to rebalance our life which our former busyness has off-centred.  

It is interesting that the Psalmist says that in his waiting, he waited “for the LORD”. When confronted with many desperate predicaments rendering him helpless and hopeless, he waited patiently for the LORD. The Psalmist got his focus right and chose the right deliverer.  

As you have experienced, our mind goes into overdrive when we wait. It works fast and furious turning over thoughts, scenarios, possibilities, strategies and outcomes. The Psalmist however, takes a different route. He waited for the LORD. He knows his covenantal God well enough to pour out his heart to Him. Unsurprisingly, the LORD heard his cries. This week is an excellent time to be still with your LORD and open your inner heart to Him. Let Him be your focus in this time of waiting and uncertainty.  

Oh, by the way…. More often than usual, after waiting for a few hours, a senior soldier would suddenly appear and say. “Right, your mission has just been changed. You are not to go to this place by this time with this equipment and be ready to do this task. Off you go and hurry up….” …..Most probably to yet another wait…..  

Let us pray:
We are not people of fear:
we are people of courage.
We are not people who protect our own safety:
we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.
We are not people of greed:
we are people of generosity.
We are your people God,
giving and loving,
wherever we are,
whatever it costs
For as long as it takes
wherever you call us. Amen.
(Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference)

The Morning Collect
Lord and heavenly Father,
you have brought us safely to this new day:
keep us by your mighty power, protect us from sin,
guard us from every kind of danger,
and in all we do this day
direct us in the fulfilling of your purpose,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  

May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen. Philippians 4.7