Patience is often described as a virtue. Psalm 40 is labeled a Psalm of Thanksgiving for Deliverance and Prayer for Help, A Psalm of David, but for me, I have a difficult time moving past the first verse, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.” The first verse speaks of a person who is patiently waiting for the Lord to do something. Often in life, we are forced to wait. We wait on our children to mature. When we are ill, we are forced to wait as the body recovers. Professionally, we often are forced to wait until an opportunity for advancement presents itself . Sometimes in our patient waiting, we wait so long, we may not recognize that God is moving in a steady, progressive, positive, productive way. Let me give you an example.
Last night, during a regularly scheduled Trustee Board meeting at my church, the major discussion circled around the endowed scholarship funds of the church. Thomas Seabron of Morgan Stanley, our fund manager, who is a member of the church, who grew up in the church, stayed in the church and has managed our endowed scholarship fund since its inception, 32 years ago, gave an update regarding the status of the fund. Our first memorial endowed scholarship was donated by a woman named, Rosetta Scott. She was a retired school teacher who was sick and wanted to leave a major contribution to the church. Mrs. Scott gave $95,000 to the church in 1986. $50,000 was used to establish an endowed scholarship. The other $45,000 was placed in our Current Expense and Mission Fund, which is the basic operating fund of the church. When Mrs. Scott died, the church paid her funeral expense and the first endowed scholarship was born! By prudently allocating scholarship awards from the earnings of her scholarship and never invading the principal, her scholarship alone has provided about $150,000 in scholarship awards and today, her initial $50,000 contribution is valued at $67,000! Since that first endowed scholarship, the church has received 50 additional memorial endowed scholarships, starting at various levels. Tom’s report to the Trustee Board last night said that the current value of our endowed scholarship fund is now slightly more than $700,000 and at the rate we are going, the estimated value of the endowed scholarship fund in the next three to five years will be around $1.5 million! Last year, 32 students who are members of the church, received $2000 each from our scholarship fund! I know this sounds like a lot of numbers and I hope you could follow me, but the point that kept poking me during the meeting was that although the endowed scholarship fund of my church has progressively grown, it also has been an exercise in a disciplined patience. For me as a pastor, I am so proud of how the endowed scholarship fund of our church has grown, but the key lessons I have learned in the process is the importance of patience, discipline and fiscal responsibility. As church members have been made aware of the responsible way the fund has been managed, every year, for 33 years, new endowed scholarships have been established.
This is my most recent story about patience. As we read Psalm 40, I encourage you to consider the patience of David and how it relates to your life.
Thanksgiving for Deliverance and Prayer for Help
To the leader. Of David. A Psalm.
1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
4 Happy are those who make
the Lord their trust,
who do not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after false gods.
5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you.
Were I to proclaim and tell of them,
they would be more than can be counted.
6 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
7 Then I said, “Here I am;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me.
8 I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
see, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
10 I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
11 Do not, O Lord, withhold
your mercy from me;
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness
keep me safe forever.
12 For evils have encompassed me
my iniquities have overtaken me,
until I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails me.
13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
O Lord, make haste to help me.
14 Let all those be put to shame and confusion
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who desire my hurt.
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”
16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
17 As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God. 
Questions for Reflection:
- What parts of Psalm 40 can you relate to?
- Have you ever felt like you were waiting “Patiently” for the Lord?
- Have you found that “Waiting patiently on the Lord” increased or challenged your faith in God?
Prayer: Lord, I am waiting with patience on you. I wait for you with patience, because I believe in your power. I wait on you with patience, because I believe you are aware of what I am going through, what I am experiencing, and what I am feeling. I wait on you, Lord, because I believe you are loving, kind and compassionate and do not wish for any of your children to suffer. I wait on you with patience, Lord, because through the darkness of the night, I see the faint hint of the breaking dawn. I wait on you with patience, Lord, because I know that you have a history of lifting the downtrodden, blessing the poor, and standing with the oppressed. Lord, I call upon you with patience, looking for your salvation in the life the come, but in this life as well. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/
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