I hate to wait. (Don’t we all?)
I recently found myself in a situation that required a great deal of patience. You know, staying calm while you wait and wait and wait some more. Not just the slow-line-at-the-grocery-store kind of patience.
In Psalm 37 David tells us repeatedly to “fret not” but to trust the Lord and to wait on Him – no matter what we see going on around us. I have a natural tendency to “fret,” so I often find myself drawn to the help this psalm has to offer.
As I often do, I read more than one translation to find shades of meaning that might not be clear in the first one. (I’m thankful for today’s technology that means I don’t have to have real books on a bookshelf to do this.)
I wound up reading Young’s Literal Translation and got a new mental picture of how to handle the situation I was in.
The NIV says “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Ps 37:7a). No hard words there – pretty clear ideas.
But then I read Young’s Literal Translation (YLT): “Be silent for Jehovah, and stay thyself for Him.” I eventually realized two things from the YLT that weren’t as obvious to me in the other translations I had read.
The first part was the difference between “be still” and “be silent.” I don’t know about you, but I can be still on the outside while my mind is working overtime trying to solve a problem. Since God can hear my thoughts, I need to be still/silent not only on the outside but also on the inside. If I hadn’t read more than one translation, I might have missed that.
Then I took a closer look at the “stay thyself” part. I knew stay would have a meaning similar to wait. When I think of the word wait, I usually picture someone holding his palm out in front of me like a construction worker directing traffic around road work.
But according to the YLT wording, I need to change that picture. The way it’s used here, stay means to hold back or restrain. Now, I don’t remember ever seeing a construction worker restraining anyone, so who’s going to hold me back?
YLT says I am! “Stay thyself”! (Restrain yourself.) Of course, I’ll need God’s help to do this just as I need Him to help me with everything else, but this version emphasizes that no one is going to make me wait, not even God; I’m the one who has to do it.
So now I’m working on a new picture to go along with my new understanding.
What does being still and waiting on God look (and sound) like for you?