"all the day long"

Yesterday, reading Psalm 25, these lines caught my attention:

Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.
Especially that part about waiting for God. I remember writing about this about five years ago, gathering the many passages that speak of the importance of this "waiting for the Lord."

At that time, I focused on the difficulty of waiting patiently, and the value of waiting as a spiritual exercise. The struggle with boredom, lethargy, despair. And wanting to strike out against the injustice we see. The importance of training ourselves to endure: "Those who endure to the end will be saved."

But my recent experiences have provided another perspective on waiting for God. Back then, I painted this waiting as a sort of heroic act, a self-sacrifice, a virtue to develop. That's not completely wrong. But my recent waiting has been much more desperate. As this year began, I really didn't know if I could last here until the summer; I even made several efforts to escape. And when I finally began to accept that God wanted me to wait here several months before taking my next step, it didn't feel heroic. It felt like trembling obedience. It felt like I had been crushed by the situation and was only willing to now go along because I felt defeated and helpless and scared. It felt like a desperate last chance. I was willing to wait for God's deliverance because I couldn't see any other good way ahead.

For the first two months of this waiting, things continued to seem pretty dark and uncertain. Now it's beginning to look brighter. It feels like the end of the wait is not so far off, maybe another two months, with the way ahead from there becoming clearer and more promising. I'll probably leave here in May, visit my parents with Heather, then the retreat place, then take another long walk. Hopefully I'll be returning to the retreat place after that.

In this context, waiting for God has seemed like another aspect of radical dependence on him. The anawim wait for God. Because they have no one else who will help them or deliver them. It's a humble, desperate waiting. The proud cannot bear it; they lose patience and must take matters into their own hands. The poor don't have this option. They must wait.