I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits (v. 5, NIV).
The psalmist starts by crying for mercy, pleading for forgiveness. Something has gone wrong. Some poor judgment led to something that may be overtly harmful. The psalmist pens this urgent desire for God to redeem this situation, then grows quiet. I wait… my whole being waits.
You can feel the writer’s pain.
In my 30s and 40s, I spent a number of years doing standup, which is a brutally honest discipline—and a brutal way to perform. Every attempted punchline provides immediate audience feedback: they either laugh or they don’t. It doesn’t take long to find out which it will be; there’s no waiting. The old adage of Tragedy plus Time equals Comedy is constantly in motion. When something awful happens and a comic sees the absurdity in the situation and makes a joke that falls flat, the rhetorical comeback is often, “Too soon?” It’s a half-hearted request for forgiveness.
But when I’ve done something that has inflicted pain on someone else, the notion of “too soon?” also comes into play. Is it too soon to ask for forgiveness? No—not from God. Because of our ability to hold on to our mistakes, we feel that we must wait, and wait, and wait for forgiveness. When God “shows up” with a bucketful of mercy, we realize the bucket was there all along.
I wait for the LORD; my whole being waits…. But God doesn’t wait. God is already present. It’s never “too soon” for God.
What mistakes am I still holding onto? Is it time to let go of the question “too soon?” and ask for forgiveness right now?
God, if you kept a record, I could never stand. Thank you for your unfailing love. Amen.