As I write this letter to you, our country is still in the throes of heated debates, complex negotiations and a frightening uncertainty about Brexit. Not only our politicians, but many people’s lives, finances, homes, businesses, jobs and futures are waiting, waiting, waiting for something to be agreed and acted upon.
By the time you read this letter, a decision of some kind will have been reached, even if it is only an agreed delay in the process and the nation is back to waiting again. These are difficult times.
Waiting for something to happen which is outside our control is never easy. Waiting for the result of medical tests, waiting for treatment, waiting to hear which school your child will be going to, waiting for exam results, waiting for a decision as to whether you will receive financial benefits, waiting for said benefits to arrive, waiting on the phone helpline whilst music plays and a voice assures you that your call is very important to them
We none of us cope easily with waiting, maybe because it seems that the whole of our lives are “on hold” as we wait.
Psalm 27 tells us to “wait for the Lord” and maybe this is not a word any of us want to hear right now. But when David wrote it, he was clearly in a difficult place. He spoke of “enemies” surrounding him and even hinted that his relationships with his family were not brilliant. It is possible that he wrote this psalm during the time between his peaceful life living with his parents, shepherding the family flocks of sheep and the time when he became King of Israel. It was a meteoric rise, but David had to encounter a lot of jealously, malicious slander and threats to his personal safety during these “waiting” years. He could not see his way ahead clearly and nor could he see how the future of his country would turn out. (You can read his story in 1 Samuel, from chapter 16 onwards).
His prayers demonstrate all the fears and frustrations we are experiencing in the UK right now. But when he says “wait for the Lord” he means more than just sitting, biting your fingernails, fruitlessly cursing the politicians and waiting for something to happen. The word “wait” here also means “trust.” Trust in God, believe in the power of God, go on living as one who believes that God is strong enough to lead us in the right paths and who will never abandon us.
A large part of the secret of David’s success as Israel’s greatest King was his determination to “wait upon God:” pray for guidance, pray for courage, pray for forgiveness and to allow God to lead him. Even in those difficult years when he was between one life and another, he found many opportunities to serve God, serve his country and serve those he loved.
I cannot say what will happen here at the end of March nor whether what does happen will bring better times or worse for the UK and for Europe. All I can say is that, no matter what happens, we shall still be able to “wait upon God,” to serve him, our nation and one another, to trust in his guiding power and healing grace.
And so, I wish you all a very Happy Easter. May our celebrations of the life of Jesus Christ laid down and then restored renew our confidence and make us a people of hope in our world.
With love and all good wishes,