Friday, November 13, 2015

Future Perfect Tense

While Japan is still shaking and ears are still rattling in Beirut and no one is sure what happened in Paris, except that there is a lot of blood and grief... I feel still as I wait to understand how to pray.

It is almost as though praying for peace has become a kind of false prophecy, for I have seen how the forces that oppose God and God's will in the world go to all kinds of lengths to avoid peace.

I sought out several translations of Psalm 27, particularly verses 13 and 14.

The New Revised Standard Version says:

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!


All of it is a future hope as well as guidance toward the future. 

The New American Standard Bible reads: 

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.


This points to the idea that the psalmist has had an experience of God within the concreteness of earthly life and applies that lesson to his (or her) future expectations of the Holy One. 

The New International Version: 

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.


Again the outlook is ahead and not behind.

The NASB is the closest to a literal translation of the Hebrew, whereas the other two are attempting a balance between the beseeching spirit of the psalm and the actual words thereof. Our prayers have to do the same thing. We cry out to the heavens with our grief and our frustrations- HOW LONG, O Lord- and we wait. Yet we also keep living- tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow- with the faithful expectation of seeing God's good work in the world. 

We lean on what we know to be true, because of what we have seen and heard, and we trust that it shall bear fruit again- even in our lifetimes- for the healing of the earth and all who dwell therein. 

1 comment:

Mary Beth said...

Trust. That's the word I'm hanging on to.