“O my Strength, I watch for You.” – Psalm 59:9a

Do I watch for the Lord?  There is so much said about “waiting” on the God, but sometimes it’s so easy for me to say I’m “waiting on the Lord”, when in reality I’m just sitting on my hands doing nothing, either expecting Him to just show up at some point, or maybe not expecting anything at all.  In fact, I think sometimes what I call “waiting on God”… is really just ignoring Him while I do my own thing.

But do I ever watch for God?  I read this passage in Psalms and the first thing I think of is sitting at my dining room window, staring out the half-drawn blinds at the empty road outside our house, not just waiting for a special someone to get here, but gazing, straining my eyes to see as far as I can, WATCHING intently for an arrival that I don’t question or merely hope for, but that I know is just around the corner.

You see, waiting can easily become a passive activity, so much so that when God does show up, it can sometimes be a pretty tame thing.  But watching… that’s something different entirely.  Watching means action.  It means focus.  It means anticipation and excitement such that when the Lord arrives, we respond wholeheartedly because, “He’s here! He’s here! I knew He was coming and He’s finally arrived!” and that is the kind of reception that warms a father’s heart.

Now, does our intent, expectant, active watching make God move or show up any faster?  Most of the time probably not.  But you know what it does do?  It makes sure we’re ready to act when He comes.  Think about Jesus’ story about the ten virgins waiting to take part in a Jewish wedding ceremony.  Five were ready to go the moment the bridegroom showed up, and five weren’t.  Did the preparation and alertness of the five ready ones make the bridegroom show up any sooner?  No, but they were the only ones that got to come along for the feast.

I wonder how many times we’ve been waiting on the Lord and felt like we got no answers, not because He didn’t come, but because we weren’t paying attention when He did…

Finally, I think there is something else important that we miss when we wait, but don’t watch.  You see, when we watch, we aren’t just making sure we don’t miss God showing up, but we’re making sure our hearts are ready to receive and respond to Him all the way.  Here’s what I mean.  Oftentimes people who drive horses will give them blinders.  It’s a simple concept, block out the distractions around the horse so it can focus on what really matters.  Focus.  That’s the beauty of watching for God.  Just like staring at the road outside my house keeps me from getting distracted by all the things around me and keeps me dwelling on the awaited arrival, when I am really watching for the Lord, He is my focus.  In fact, when He is my focus such that I exclude the distractions around me, that’s when my heart gets the most ready, the most excited, and I believe that is what pleases Him most of all.

Be ready.  Be focused.  Have faith my soul, and WATCH for the Lord!

Phillip Gonzales
1/29/07