Seasons of the Soul- Transitions
“But it is for you, O Lord, that I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.”
(Psalm 38:15, NRSV)
The 38th Psalm could be described as a Psalm of Eeyore. You may recall that Eeyore is the donkey in the Winnie-the-Pooh series by A.A. Milne. He is generally characterized as a pessimistic, gloomy, and woeful old grey stuffed donkey who self-deprecatingly said of his tail, “It’s not much of a tail, but I’m kind of attached to it.” If there were a downside to be seen, Eeyore would definitely see it.
The 38th Psalm is referred to as a penitential Psalm because the author offers confession for his sin; however, like Eeyore, he also expresses a fair amount of grief and complaint. He says his sin has ruined his health. In his suffering, his friends have left him. His enemies have taken advantage of his weakened state and persecuted him. In spite of his attempt at acknowledging personal responsibility for his sins, there is a hint of pity-seeking as he lays out what he sees as circumstances beyond his control.
In the middle of it all, in a moment of surrender, the Psalmist declares that he is waiting on God with the full expectation that God will respond. He anticipates that God will somehow come through and restore him to health and renew his relationships. It is a statement of faith.
As we continue our series this week on “Seasons of the Soul,” we’ll explore transitions and some ways we can navigate the instability of the in-between times. The reality is that God does some of his best work when things seem uncertain. For us, the season of waiting feels like wasted time. We can’t fully see what God is up to, so we try to force our own solutions without the benefit of the complete picture. The results can be disastrous or, at least, cause a delay in our realizing the future that God is creating for us. There is a better way to deal with the transition time, and I’ll address the disciplines that can help us make the most of the waiting season.
Our congregation has been in a waiting season for a couple of years as we’ve attempted to discern God’s vision for our future. God has been at work in our waiting. Although there is still much work to do, the Visioning/Long-Range Planning Team has formulated a vision statement that we believe reflects the direction God is calling us to go. On Sunday, I’ll share that statement with you and unpack what it means for how we move forward. I hope to see you in worship on Sunday! ~Dale Cohen