Jenny's Psalm Reflections: Psalm 40 v.1

Today’s verse is Psalm 40 v.1

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.”

Background:

This is a Psalm of thanksgiving for deliverance and a prayer for help. The psalmist writes of extreme troubles which are “without number” (verse 12) yet he waits patiently. It is also interesting to note that Psalm 40’s name in Latin is Expectans expectavi. This means “I expected expectantly.” The writer has troubles but it appears that waiting expectantly is very much worth it and our God can provide solid rock for our feet in place of the “miry bog” (verse 2).

Waiting in this context is not being idle, lazy or complacent. It is a divine activity where we wait unreservedly for God to act and He will not disappoint us. Waiting for the Lord’s help sometimes forces us to our limits and it takes courage to use that time and know, that while waiting, God is working out His purposes in our lives. We tend to ask questions like “When will you intervene God?” or “When will you start changing things?”

I remember when I went through my discernment process for the priesthood, that it seemed to take an inordinately long time! The type of ministry I was being called to in the secular world wasn’t really recognised and it took some time to find out that such a role existed. It then took a long time to explain my vocation in terms of words that the Church of England could understand. It was a long process but, as a person who requires patience, it certainly helped me develop patience and isn’t patience one of the fruits of the Spirit? (Galatians 5 verse 22). The people I studied with and who supported me, wouldn’t have been there if I’d been accepted earlier, and it was a priceless experience to really put the whole journey in God’s hands and trust Him. 

Illustration by jeremythomasart.co.uk
Illustration by jeremythomasart.co.uk

We may not always understand His ways. Sometimes we may even think that God has forsaken us. But we should love his will. If our hearts are glad in His will, then we are close to His heart. Wait patiently on the Lord and he shall take the cry from your mouth and replace it with song.

Meditation

1. Find a quiet place.

Sit comfortably but alert – feet flat on the floor, back pushed hard against the back of the chair.

2. Focus as well on your breathing.

Pay attention to in-breaths and out-breaths. You may think of breathing in God’s life and peace and breathing out any tension.

3. Be aware of your body.

Let your aches and pains be there. Rest your feet on the floor; still being aware of them pressed firmly into the floor. Shrug your shoulders, ease your neck. Take time to become still.

4. Ask God how he can make your life count.

You may have some ideas already but read the words of verse 5 again slowly and listen to what your inner voice is saying.

5. Sit quietly and feel safe.

Hand over the situation to God and ask him for his support.

6. Finish with this prayer:

Free us from all impatience, Lord. Help us to accept the situation we find ourselves in and trust in you. May we be filled with praise for your Son, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Posted on May 13th 2021

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