Note: This is entry 3 in a study guide series called “Four Seasons of Healing: A Pathway for Those Living with Chronic Illness.” For a list of entries click here.
Listen to my words, LORD,
consider my lament.
Hear my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.
The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him. When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream . . .
Winter marks a dark season of life when no answers to difficult questions seem to come. It’s a time when waiting for God to intervene feels like an eternity. No one invites a chronic condition, or a long-standing trial. Still, they can come unannounced at any time and remain longer than expected. Illustrations from the Bible of those waiting for God to intercede serve as examples for waiting amidst an uncertain future.
In Psalm 5, the author begins his petition in the morning and then settles in to wait the rest of the day for God’s response. He wakes up with burdens heavy upon his heart and mind. Those thoughts could allow the darkness to overtake his soul, but he does not let it. His waiting is an active waiting. It’s where the soul gazes expectantly for a response from a loving and sovereign God.
Joseph’s story in Genesis stands out as a model for grace under pressure. He finds himself in Egypt after his brothers sell him to slave traders. At first, he does well as a servant to Potiphar, the captain of the guard. But when Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce Joseph and fails, she falsely accuses him of trying to sleep with her. Potiphar, as a result, sends him to jail with the cupbearer and baker of the king of Egypt. In prison, Joseph attends to them and helps them interpret dreams. The cupbearer, though, forgot about Joseph after his release from prison. Joseph languishes there two more years.
The psalmist’s expression of active waiting and Joseph’s life of faithfulness enduring injustice are stories I draw from for my own life. The worst waiting with psoriasis comes with severe skin flares. Each minute feels like an hour, while an hour feels like a day. The physical discomfort of itchy, stinging sores and the emotional frustration and restlessness become unbearable. Flares can last for weeks, months, or longer. The psalmist points me back to God each morning while Joseph reminds me that God is just.
Share a time when you waited for relief or resolution to a difficult situation. How do you feel you coped while waiting? What was the final outcome?
- Think of when you waited an extended time for something. What was the most difficult part of waiting?
For Further Thought
In Psalm 5 the psalmist waited for God to deliver him. Joseph waited in jail while facing injustice. Consider their stories in your responses below.
- Why do you think the psalmist begins his prayer in the morning (v. 3)?
- What does it mean to “wait expectantly” and actively for something, such as for God to intervene in a difficult situation (v. 3)? How do the psalmist and Joseph exhibit active waiting?
- How might waiting while enduring recurring injustice or facing a long-suffering illness be especially difficult?
- The psalmist prays for God to intervene when he starts his day. Write a short prayer that you might pray at the end of the day when it seems like God has not answered.
Close in Prayer
Pray for eyes that look up to the mountains like the psalmist who looked for God’s help on his journey to Jerusalem (Psalm 121). Pray that would God reveal Himself in the winter season of your trial or illness as you wait for Him.