Can you remember the last time you were really (really) tired?
Was it that last epic paper? That last of those nightly feedings (and diaperings) (and sshh-ings) of your sweet little? That troublesome conversation that kept you up all night tossing and turning?
Those final moments of darkness, before the light even begins to show its face in the east, are some of the longest moments of humanity, I think. As a birth doula working with women in labor I used to call those my "dark nights of the soul" nights. Moments when I would simply crave the arrival of the sunrise so that, even if labor were to continue, I would have confirmation that the darkness would not last forever.
"My soul waits for the Lord more than sentinels for the dawn." (Psalm 130: 6) It is a passage to which I've often looked for solace as I've journeyed through life's tiresome circumstances.
A sentinel, a guard, must also have known what is was like to wait for the light. Wait for rest. Wait for his weariness to be met with consolation.
Oh, how often I've felt like that sentinel: watchful and waiting.
Except that I'm not always meticulously watchful. Nor patiently waiting. My own personal image of a sentinel looks more like an overly tired toddler who refuses to be consoled, refuses to be patient.
I want to be like that sentinel, watchful and longing for the Lord. But my soul needs work.
I find the imagery of the stalwart sentinel helpful because, when we take a look at today's reading from the Book of Ezekiel, we see such a beautiful exhortation of a wicked man committing to being more sentinel-like:
"If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just he shall surely live, he shall not die... None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him." (Ezekiel 18:21-22)
None of them. Not a one. Not even the big big ones. Sincere commitment means a beautiful fresh slate.
We're being called to make a commitment like the sentinel, sisters. It doesn't mean we won't be weary. It doesn't mean we won't crave the dawn.
It does mean that we'll stand tall and watchful, and wait for the Lord, knowing that in doing so we'll receive an infinite treasure in return.
Can you pray with me today to watch and take comfort in the Lord?
Karen Schultz hails from the Land of 10,000 lakes, where she is often found in or near one of them. As a doula, lactation educator, and FertilityCare Practitioner, she finds joy in helping women to embrace the gift of their bodies. Downtime is found in quiet adoration chapels, farmers markets and gardens, listening to bluegrass music, and embracing the diversity of Minnesota’s seasons. You can find out more about her here.