What Are You Waiting For?
by Rev. Dan Dennis
For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.
— Psalm 130:7
During the 1995 Bosnian War, US Air Force pilot, Scott O’Grady was shot down over hostile territory. He rubbed mud on his face and hid himself under the debris of the forest floor. And he prayed. For 7 days he ate leaves, grass, and insects, and drank rain water. For only the briefest moments, he used his radio to signal his location. What he didn’t know was that a fellow pilot intercepted one of his signals and relayed it to his commanding officer who relayed it to his CO, who relayed it to the head of the US Air Force, who relayed it to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who relayed it to the Secretary of Defense, who relayed it to the President of the United States who relayed it to the Head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Then, the President and the head of NATO authorized a rescue. The strength and power of the entire free world was marshaled for Scott O’Grady’s rescue. Now the command came back through the chain of command, and 19 heavily armed aircrafts scrambled to the rescue. With his face in the mud, O’Grady heard the thumping sound of distant helicopters; he crawled out of his burial place and he ran for his life to freedom.
Psalm 130 is one of seven “penitential” or “captivity” Psalms.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
It is a Psalm for those who have fallen and are muddied and buried by the debris of their circumstance. The Psalm teaches us to pray even when we think we’ve fallen so far that our prayers cannot possibly be heard. It reminds us that:
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over the transgression
of the remnant of your possession?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in showing clemency.
This is a word we cannot hear too often. When we are buried in the muddy debris of life, we are assured that even our briefest cry is heard and moves through the Kingdom of God’s chain of command to God himself and God authorizes all the resources of his kingdom to be deployed for our rescue.
When you wonder if you’ve even been heard, remember, your rescue is already underway. As Corrie Ten Boom put it, “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.” Be assured that what you are waiting for is already on its way.
See you at Otterbein where we believe we are the objects of God’s rescue.
Rev. Dan Dennis