My Spanish-speaking friends remind me every Advent that the word for “hoping” and the word for “waiting” is the same: esperando. In English, the words somehow diverge. “Waiting” conjures up images of grocery lines, busy signals, and the dreaded three dots in a text message conversation. “Hoping” connotes anticipation, albeit sometimes with unrealistic expectations.
The English word “longing” seems to capture the tension of both words, as esperando does. We want something deeply, but we must wait for it, however impatiently.
In today’s passage, the psalmist paints a picture of safety, where a person shall never be shaken (v. 2); God is their salvation (v. 2) and refuge (v. 7). But words about waiting and hoping also surface in these verses, reflecting souls that long to be in God’s presence.
Any number of reasons, full of joy or tumult, can compel us to long for God.
Though Easter was less than a month ago, we quickly distance ourselves from the longing we felt between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. We want to move past our emptiness and forget the pain we experienced at that time. Yet we still live in that liminal space between how things are and how they should be. God is making all things new, but God isn’t finished yet. We wait, and we hope.
When we find ourselves overwhelmed by work, frustrated in our relationships, and longing for cycles of violence and systems of oppression to end, we can turn to the psalmist’s words of hope as we wait: power belongs to God, and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord (vv. 11-12).
What have you been longing for?
God, be our hope and strength as we wait. Amen.