Psalm 62

“For God alone my soul waits in silence.”

So many of the psalms come to life in new ways these strange and difficult days, as we are confronted by our mortality and painful troubles fill our days and nights. We find that our words fall short of soothing the sorrows of racial wounds and political divides: sound bites are all we seem to have left. 202,000 of our dear loved ones have died, and we are still settling in to our isolation for the long haul. It is a moment, likely more than any other to come in our human journey, when life is laid bare, as we realize how tenuous our existence really is, how fragile and fleeting our life’s breath.

Right here and now we are invited into the breath prayer of Psalm 62: “For God alone my soul waits in silence. David uses it twice, comes back to it again, as if to reveal both his desperation and the soothing hope the simple words bring into the chaos.

“For God alone… God is not one among many. This kind of prayer is not about covering bases, but rather centering ourselves in the midst of one reality into another that holds us. We are left after all is said and done with God alone, who holds our coming and going from this time on and forevermore. We are brought from a temporal into a broad immortal space.

my soul waits“…In life’s brokenness I quiet my soul and wait. Waiting means there is another whom I trust and from whom I receive, who I anticipate making an appearance. My praying turns from trying to manipulate the will of God to putting myself in a position to be moved by God’s will. My soul waits.

in silence“…it’s not the absence of sound when I run out of something to say. It is rather a fertile time of being quite so that I can hear what God wants to say. There are many things I have to get off my chest. There is much that seems urgent to speak. But then comes blessed silence, so that I can hear God whispering that all is well, that “I have overcome the world.”

The result? “from him comes my salvation” (v.1) and “for my hope is in him.” (v.5). The first (salvation) understands that the past gives context to the present. The second (hope) is convinced that the future gives context to the present too.

Read the whole psalm song. Read it over and over until it holds onto you:

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. (v.8)

“For God alone my soul waits in silence.”

Peter Hawkinson

This reflection flows from my devotional reading of Where Your Treasure Is: Psalms That Summon You from Self to Community by Eugene Peterson, 1993, Eerdmans publishing.

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