Welcoming the Dawn (Calvary)
By Chaplain Mark E. Moss
Some of the most dangerous times out in Iraq were the night hours. At night is when the enemy most often emplaced the bombs which we call Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). They also attempted, day or night, to fire mortar rounds and rocket propelled grenades into our perimeter. Still, duty at night, both inside and outside the perimeter of our Forward Operating Base (FOB,) was a time of heightened danger. The darkness was often feared more because it hid the unknown which could be seen in the daylight. Thus our soldiers welcomed and looked forward to the daylight hours.
We hear allusions to this in the 130th Psalm where it says; “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. …and with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. Verses 1-6, 7b.”
In this Psalm, the writer describes the same feelings as our soldiers in Iraq experienced when he says twice, “My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning…” Back in those Old Testament days there were no police officers, quick reaction force, 911 phone systems, home alarms, to discourage criminals and secure help with. Criminals and wild animals roamed freely at night and were hard to detect. Night was a time to be feared. When trouble did occur, the person who was being victimized watched with untold eagerness for the morning to come. In the light he could better see his threat, and other people who could help him would start to come out and move around.
Spiritually speaking, we may feel like the Psalmist of the Old Testament Days and those American soldiers out performing their duties at night in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Life seems overwhelming at times and there appears to be much we should fear. We may feel much like a person caught unawares by an enemy in the dark. And when we are in great emotional or spiritual pain, we cry to the Lord. We wonder if God remembers us and will answer our cries for help. But God the Father has proven His ability to overcome the darkness of sin, death, Satan and our enemies. He demonstrates this conclusively in the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. God has already won the biggest battle, the one for our souls. The Psalmist encourages us in our text to wait on the Lord, expecting His help. His help will come to us at the time and in the form He deems best to accomplish His will in our lives. Trusting in our Lord, the Alpha and Omega, the First and Last, we look to the ultimate dawn and morning when we join our Lord in heaven one day. He tells His people in the book of Jeremiah;
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. –Jeremiah 29:11-13 Amen.