I was all set to start writing this morning on the topic of "Celebrations" because the month of June seems to be filled with them, but ... when I turned on my laptop to start writing it told me to wait! The dots were spinning. An update was taking place. The message said, "Do not turn off your computer." All I could do was wait.
So I decided to do a couple things on the deck. I stepped out with water pitcher in hand, and it started to sprinkle. I watered the flowers while the remnants of the drops formed a pattern on my shirt. The trimming of my finger nails will need to wait for another day - "postponed on account of rain!"
Upon my return to the laptop, the message now said, "Update 30% complete," along with the same old warning. As I began to embark upon another project - indoors this time - the message suddenly changed to "Shutting down" and then the screen turned black! I waited about 30 seconds. and then turned it back on ... only to be greeted with that 'friendly' circle of dots and "update 66% complete" ... which immediately changed to "77% complete" and then to "100% complete"! This message did not change for a full two minutes, but after that, finally, the laptop slowly started to gear up toward readiness. All told, I was about 1/2 hour closer to my 8:10 deadline with nothing to show for it.
The thoughts of June celebrations had been replaced with the frustrations of the day's delays!
These delays were just minor, I know. Waiting until suppertime for a surgery that was scheduled for 6:00 a.m. is much more difficult (and there are others that are far more torturous). You know what it is like to have your plans delayed, and so do I.
And so did King David, but he seems to have been blessed with a spirit that we all could use, for he writes, "I waited patiently for the Lord, and he turned to me and heard my cry for help. He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and they will trust in the Lord. ... I am oppressed and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my helper and my deliverer; my God, do not delay." (Psalm 42.1-3, 17)
"How patient (verse 1)," one may ask, "is someone who ends his prayer by saying 'My God, do not delay' (verse 17)?" However, the issue may well be more one of persistence and trust over patience. I find it interesting that in the middle of this prayer (the verses I skipped over) David prays, "I delight to do your will, my God, and your instruction is deep within me." (v. 8) "Lord, you do not withhold your compassion from me. Your constant love and truth will always guard me, for troubles without number have surrounded me." (v. 11) "Lord, be pleased to rescue me; hurry up to help me, Lord." (v. 13) And then, finally - in the last verse of the prayer, he says, "My God, do not delay!"
Two short thoughts - which come with no more delay (for the deadline approaches): 1) In this prayer that the Lord our God himself gives to us (remember, the Bible is God's word to us), our Redeemer and Friend is telling us it is OK to be impatient with him. It is totally permissible to shake our fist at him and scream, "My God, do NOT DELAY!" And 2) it is even better and healthier to be patient, and persistent, and trusting, in prayer ... seeing our problems (no matter what the size) through the lens of his promises ... knowing that, in his good time, he will "bring you up from your desolate pit and make your steps secure. He will put a new song in your mouth, a hymn of praise, and that many will see and trust in the Lord."
"With no more delays," said he, and then, just as that paragraph was nearing completion, the laptop froze! Eventually one more shut down and restart was needed ... with the question of how much of what had been written would still remain. And one more little reminder from Jesus of how patient, and persistent, and trusting of us is he! (He knows what he wants us to become, and never stops doing what it takes for us to receive it - no matter how many times or ways we delay his progress in us!)
So, "with no more delays," I say, "Let the celebration of this day begin, so that many will see and trust in the Lord."