My thoughts (Tyler Connoley):
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for God;
do not fret over those who prosper in their way;
over those who carry out evil devices. (Psalm 37:7)
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? (Psalm 13:1-2)
I love the book of Psalms for its ability to hold so many human emotions simultaneously in one place. Psalm 37 is a beautiful reminder to be patient, and trust God. The author of Psalm 37 lets us know “the wicked will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb.” Don’t fret over evil people, because they’ll soon be dead and gone. God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good.
On the other hand, Psalm 13 screams out in anguish: How long, O Lord?! How long will bad people win?! It’s been thousands of years, and the have gots just keep getting more, while we have nots keep getting less. Have you gone to sleep, God? Do you not see what’s happening here?! God! I need some help! Not tomorrow! Today!
Advent is a season of waiting. During the darkest time of the year, we wait for the coming of the Light into the world in the birth of Jesus. And, during Advent, we’re often reminded to be patient. But patience is harder for some than for others. Some of us are able to trust, like the author of Psalm 37, that all is well, all is well, and all manner of things will be well. Others of us are crying out in anguish, like the author of Psalm 13.
In fact, these two attitudes toward waiting for God’s goodness have probably been present in each of us at different times in our lives. They are certainly present in every faith community, every church, every family, just as they are present in the choir of voices that make up the book of Psalms. They are present because they are needed. We need those gifted with great faith and hope to help us remember that it gets better, and we need those who are electrified with a sense of urgency at the pain in the world to keep us from getting complacent with how things are.
Thought for the day: In this season of waiting, you may be feeling hopeful at the glimmers of light to come, or you may be feeling urgency at the depth of the darkness still present. Either way, share your gifts with those around you. We need your perspective.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.