wait + watch = hope

I don’t know how you’re feeling today, post-election, but my sense of hope I have in God through Jesus Christ has been tested today. Bodies are at stake when it comes to policies and life lived together in these United States. Some bodies are more at risk in the coming 4 years: bodies with darker skin; female bodies; bodies with parts that work in different ways from the accepted norm; bodies that have escaped war-torn countries and landed here; bodies that love bodies of the same gender.

So, trying to do the things I do each day so as to just get on with it, I opened the book I’ve been reading the past few weeks, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson. Today’s chapter?  Hope.  Of course. He riffs on Psalm 130 (see below) and describes the act of hoping this way:

Hoping does not mean doing nothing. It is not fatalistic resignation. It means going about our assigned tasks, confident that God will provide the meaning and the conclusions. It is not compelled to work away at keeping up appearances with a bogus spirituality. It is the opposite of desperate and panicky manipulations, of scurrying and worrying.

And hoping is not dreaming. It is not spinning an illusion or fantasy to protect us from our boredom or our pain. It means a confident, alert expectation that God will do what God said God will do. It is imagination put in the harness of faith. It is a willingness to let God do it God’s way and in God’s time. (p.142)

Psalm 130 tells us that to watch and to wait is to hope. That’s the part we’re in right now – the watching and waiting part. Our hope is not dashed. Our hope is in a faithful God who is powerful and creative, whose imagination for possibility is vast and unknowable.

So if you don’t know what to do, pray Psalm 150 and then watch and wait.

Psalm 130

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord
   Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications! 
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand? 
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered. 
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope; 
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning. 
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem. 
It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.