For days I have had a particular Psalm put to music by Sons of Korah stuck in my head. “More than the Watchmen wait…” Usually when this happens it is because God is trying to drill something into my mind. While in prayer this morning, the song popped up on iTunes and I couldn’t stop listening to it. In fact, I have it on repeat as I write this.
“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities.”
I considered my time in the Army, “more than the watchmen wait for the morning”. I remember the most difficult times on night guard duty (none of which compare to my other military brothers and sisters). The time I remember wanting to see the sun of the morning the most was during Basic Training. My body had not acclimated to the daily physical stress and it just craved sleep. My husband Jeremy described the time he was in Bosnia, he shared how cold it was at night. He would have to wash vehicles all day and would be soaked by the evening. Then the temperature dropped and his BDUs would be frozen by morning. Talk about longing for the sun to rise!
I never saw any combat action and neither did Jeremy really but we have friends whose children are away fighting in combat. What does it mean to be on guard duty (or night watch) during a war? I don’t pretend to have experience with this but, one of my Drill Sergeants described one day what he remembered from combat. A special forces soldier, near tears, screaming and spitting at us because one of his night guard soldiers fell asleep on guard duty and upon this Sergeants return he found everyone dead. Slain in their cots. The role of the night watchman is vital to the survival of the unit. He or She is the first line of defense against internal attack. They are meant to look for suspicious activity, challenge possible intruders, and welcome leadership properly. They are also charged with protecting things that are sacred. Take, for example, the Tomb of the Unknowns Guard, the vigorous training they go through and committment to guard something greater than they are, even through hurricanes. I reviewed the Sentinel’s Creed and it spoke to my heart:
My dedication to this sacred duty
is total and whole-hearted.
In the responsibility bestowed on me
never will I falter.
And with dignity and perseverance
my standard will remain perfection.
Through the years of diligence and praise
and the discomfort of the elements,
I will walk my tour in humble reverence
to the best of my ability.
It is he who commands the respect I protect,
his bravery that made us so proud.
Surrounded by well meaning crowds by day,
alone in the thoughtful peace of night,
this soldier will in honored glory rest
under my eternal vigilance.
There are so many snippets that jump out at me about my job as a watchman in God’s Kingdom but, the last line shook me a bit. The thought of eternal vigilance. I am vigilant for stints at a time but, God is teaching me consistency in my relationship with Him. So in the times when I am standing in the midst of the storm, rain stinging my body and the wind violently crashes against me, I will wait for the morning like the watchmen waits for dawn. I will stand in faith on the rock of God’s forgiveness and His steadfast love. I want to also praise God for our Service Men and Women who protect Jeremy, Emilia, Victoria, Lillian, and me. Our prayers are always with you.