I wait quietly before God,
For my victory comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
My fortress where I will not be shaken.
On the quayside lobster pots stand, empty, waiting, how many times in life are we called to stand and wait. Psalm 62 is attributed to David, who in his life knew what it was to wait, learning patience, watchfulness as a shepherd, and as a fugitive, as a King in waiting, as a father anxious for a sick child, as a sinner for the mercy of God.
Saint Paul too, waited, once in Athens he waited for Silas and Timothy to join him; and as he waited was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw in the city; but Paul could not just stand, observe and wait. Not Paul.
He was there because some Jews (his own people) learning that Paul was teaching the word of God in Berea, went there and stirred up trouble (Acts 17: 10-13), and the believers acted at once, to send him on to the coast and away from trouble. Speaking in a vision to a believer in Damascus called Ananias, the Lord had said, at the beginning of the adventures of Saul, also called Paul, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there ask for a man from Tarsus called Saul. He is praying to me right now. I have shown him a vision of a man called Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so that he can see again.”
“But Lord,’ exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! And he is authorised by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls on your name.”
But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
We read in the pages of Acts just a few of those things which Saul, also called Paul, did indeed suffer, and willingly, for the sake of Jesus, Once called, Saul was a faithful instrument, true to the purpose of his calling. Alone in Athens, surrounded by pagan idols.. Paul simply could not wait, quietly. He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and god-fearing Gentiles and he spoke, daily in the public square to all who happened to be there.
What about us?
For my part, I see daily and am troubled by the “new” things which young people are taught and asked to accept, those new teachings and doctrines that we don’t find in the scriptures, the things which were never taught to us as children. Paul would have spoken of them as a new Gospel, which he had never received or taught. I am troubled because in so many ways – the Holy Spirit is not heard – He is speaking, but goes unheard.
I wonder just how long Paul would’ve waited before setting out to “reason” with the promoters of new and strange Gospels?
David who “waited quietly’ before the Lord was also David who fought the “Lord’s battles, Jesus man of prayer and gentleness, said this, “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matt 10:34)
“Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armour of God’s righteousness. For shoes put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery darts of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6: 14-17)
St Patrick’s Breastplate
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all who love me,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation;
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord. Amen.
All scriptures quoted are from NLT