I waited for the Lord, he inclined unto me, he heard my complaint.
O bless’d are they that hope and trust in the Lord. [Psalm 40:1-5]
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s (1809-1847) Symphony No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 52 is also known as Hymn of Praise (Lobegesang in German.) Mendelssohn composed the symphony in 1840 and described it as “A Symphony-Cantata on Words of the Holy Bible, for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra.” It is a large work, with a complete performance of the symphony lasting well over an hour. I Waited for the Lord is one of the movements of this symphony. It is scored for two soloists and chorus, with the text derived from Psalm 40.
We wait all the time. Our lives are filled with the burden of waiting. We wait to fall asleep at night, for emails and text messages, for Amazon deliveries, for money to hit the bank account, for doctors, for torturous things to end and for blessed things to begin. The Christian life is likewise filled with waiting but not for things on earth. This waiting is for the Lord, for an answer to our prayers, for the resolve of conflicted hearts, for peace to replace upset, for joy to overcome despair, and for hope to triumph over loss. The old may have learned to wait while the young are anxious but in every case waiting is still a burden and a test of faith. “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31).
We wait not for the unknown so much as we wait for the promise of God to be kept, fulfilled, and delivered. It is the waiting that only faith can undertake or it will become our undoing. Waiting is a test of faith and of our confidence in the Word of God. The answer to our unease at waiting and our fears is faith. We believe that God hears us, answers us, and delivers to us all He has said. This is our peace in waiting. God is faithful and He will do it.