What Are You Waiting For?

Carol Bechtel

READ : Psalm 39

What do I wait for? My hope is in you. (v. 7 NRSV)

Ebenezer Scrooge had an important reality check when the Ghost of Christmas Future gave him a tour of the graveyard. Somehow, seeing his own name on a headstone helped him reevaluate his priorities.

Like the character in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the author of Psalm 39 has had his own kind of reality check. We don’t know what’s brought it on, but at the center of this psalm he stops dead in his tracks. Other people step around him as they continue to rush past. He looks around and whispers, “Surely everyone goes about like a shadow. Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; they heap up, and do not know who will gather” (v. 6).

When my kids were teenagers, we went with my parents to visit the family cemetery. All was well until my parents pointed out the headstone that had their own names on it. “It’s all done but the date of death,” they explained with satisfaction. The kids turned on their heels and ran – not nearly as ready as their grandparents to face the hard facts of mortality.

“Let me know how fleeting my life is,” the psalmist prays (v. 4). It’s a prayer we could all stand to pray. It points us toward the true source of our hope – not ourselves or our possessions, but our God.

What are you waiting for?


Remind us, O God, of our mortality and our true hope.