Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Waiting for when there will be no more night

Hoping and Waiting

A devotional by Christa MacDonald

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word, I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.”
–Psalm 130:5-6 (NIV)

If you’ve been a parent, then you know that children’s fevers, the scary ones, seem to come at night, usually on a weekend when the doctor’s office is closed.

More nights than I can count, I’ve sat beside a miserable kid, staring at a thermometer with phone in my hand, waiting for the on-call nurse. I’ve watched over my children, waiting for daylight and hoping for the fever to break. Whenever I read verse above, I think back to those nights where my whole being was focused on waiting in hope.

One of my favorite poems is by T. S. Eliot. It’s called “The Four Quartets: East Coker”. I’d like to share my favorite stanza from that poem. It reads:

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.

Eliot wrote these words in 1940 after living through a pandemic and World War I. When he wrote this poem, he was then trying to survive World War II. In those dire circumstances came these words about hope and waiting.

We are presently living through a fractious time. Many of us have personal struggles on top of the discord our world is showing. It’s hard to have any hope at all, much less the right sort. The world’s version of hope is more like wishing—hope that is fixed on an outcome or an object, which isn’t lasting. Human hearts are fickle. We change our minds about what we want with the slightest impetus. As soon as an urgent need or want is met, where does our focus go? To thankfulness to the God of Providence or to that next urgent need?

We typically spend our days moving from one desire to the next, fooling ourselves that we’re “living our best life”. We’ll end up with what we wanted but still feel empty. The kind of hope that matters, the true hope that can transform a dark time, is the sort that is born out of faith in God. As the Psalmist says above, “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word, I put my hope.”

Wait. It’s a hard thing to do even when it’s just a whim, but when it’s life and death, it can seem impossible. Waiting in hope beside a hospital bed is a terrible place to be, especially when a miracle is all that stands between you and immeasurable loss. It’s truly a dark night of the soul. When the miracle doesn’t come, only a hope that is rooted in faith in Jesus Christ can stand.

Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33). We can place our faith in Him and wait in hope knowing that He is with us and will not fail us. The watchmen waiting for the dawn didn’t doubt it was coming. They waited knowing they’d see the sun rise. We have even more reason to hope.

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, please help us wait in hope through whatever it is that is troubling us. Change our focus, keep our eyes upon Jesus and our feet on the right path. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Note from Alexis: Christa’s devotional reminds me of the song “No More Night” by David Phelps. Listen to it here

Author Bio:

Christa MacDonald is a 2017 Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction. 

She began her writing career at the age of eleven, filling a sketchbook with poems and short stories. After publishing a few short pieces in her college’s literary magazine she took a long hiatus during which she embarked on a few different careers, got married, had three kids, and renovated an old barn masquerading as a house.

Her most recent work, The Redemption Road, finished the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.

When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty. She and her family live along the coast of New England.

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