"But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more" (Psalm 71:14).
Psalm 71 instantly transports me back to August 2007, because it's the psalm I memorized in preparation for labor. And the memories aren't pleasant: on my hands and knees in a hospital bed, sweat pouring over me, more terrified than I have ever been before or since, desperately crying over and over, "Be not far from me, O God; come quickly, O my God, to help me" (v. 12).
And...to be completely honest...feeling like He wasn't helping me.
In hindsight, I can see how He was; I came away from the experience with a healthy baby boy, and I managed to deliver him vaginally, without drugs or complications. But I have to admit that I was still pretty emotionally traumatized by that birth and its aftermath.
When I came back to the psalm earlier this summer, one phrase in verse 14 jumped out at me: "hope continually." The accompanying study note says, "He promises to hope continually, leaving to God the timing of the answer to these prayers."
Hope is not a short-term, temporary mindset; it is a lifelong one. Immediate answers would not leave much need for hope or faith. It's when the answers are delayed and God seems silent that I must trust His promises. Hope means believing that His Word is true even when my emotional perspective indicates otherwise.
Hope continually. Not hope for a while and then give up when nothing seems to change. Keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking. Keep on believing that He will complete the good work He began in me. Keep on trusting that He will provide the grace I need.
Hope continually. Believe--hope against hope--that I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.