I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.

Psalm 40:1 (ESV)

I love Psalm 40, but especially this first verse. The word “inclined” is most frequently translated “stretched out”. The NIV translates this part of the verse as “he turned to me and heard my cry.”

Every time I read or hear this verse, I see in my head the Lord pausing as if He’s heard something, stopping in His tracks, turning toward me and leaning in to be sure He hears me fully. He is attentive to me and he hears me! Out of everyone who is calling out to Him, He hears me. Now because this is Scripture and He is God, the verse applies to all of us and He turns and hears everyone. He hears you as much as He hears me. But that picture in my mind reminds me how very much He loves me and how He is always listening for my call and ready to respond.

And then there’s the first part of the verse – “I waited patiently”. In Hebrew that’s communicated by repeating the word “waited”. In other words, the word-by-word translation is “I waited waited.” I like that. It brings to mind the phrase that is spoken before a great surprise – “wait for it…wait for it…” And then all of a sudden something wonderfully fantastic happens! It’s something we used to say when training our dog to sit. We would have a treat in our hand and command him to sit. He would sit with his eyes locked on either our eyes or our hands, just waiting for the indication of a wonderful treat to come his way. Then “suddenly” we would release him and the treat was his. Oh happy day! (Don’t you love the “suddenlies” of God?)

Interestingly, the word translated “wait” (“waited”) comes from a root word that means “binds together (perhaps by twisting)” (Strong’s Talking Greek and Hebrew Dictionary). So as we wait, with anticipation and expectation in our hearts and showing on our faces, we bind ourselves to God. We immerse ourselves in Him, His Word, and in fellowship with His people. And then suddenly, He gives the nod and the treat is ours!

One last thing – I’ve used the word “suddenly”, but it’s only suddenly to us. Scripture is clear that God is working on our behalf even when we don’t see it. Not bound by the constraints of time like we are, He works in our past, our present and even our future, to bring about what we see as the “suddenly”.

So friends, know that He hears you today, and as you “wait wait” for His response, bind yourself closer to Him. Wait for it – His suddenly is coming!

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