Hope in The Messy Middle
How do we keep hoping when the hard and messy of life seems like it’s gonna stick around forever and we’re left struggling to believe, or even breathe? How do we keep a faith that knows God’s gonna come through for us when He’s sovereign over all, after all. For all others, too, in it all. Because He knows the beginning from the end and what’s best for us all, which doesn’t always seem best for some in the interim.
He’s not a genie granting wishes nor using some magic spells or potions, is He? He works out His Will for what brings Him, alone, glory. Yet He also works in and for all the world, not just in and for us only, in our own worlds, wants, and glorification. His actions are what’s best over all!
Though, do you ever wish you could have your way, or even better, could control how and when your way ends or plays out altogether in your own life? For your own people and your own situations? I sure do. Especially this year. Especially right now.
Because this year I’m tired. And while I’m asking to see life through His eyes, I want His best for *mine* to be what’s best in my own eyes. I want desperately to see what I want to see right this very minute. Not in five years, or five months, or even five minutes. Nope. I want it now.
And, honestly, what I want this minute is actually a very good thing. Not a selfish one. (Not this time!) I want a wonderful thing for another living thing. I want life and faith and healing. And I know what I want is what God wants, too.
So why is He waiting?
Likely it’s for many reasons I couldn’t begin to comprehend. But that’s the rub, right? So I go from trusting to twisting my hands and stomach into knots. From worship to wondering. From resting in His will to wandering away on my own. From prayer to pondering my solutions or ideas or ways of escaping the reality I really don’t want to be living. I go from an active faith in God to anxiety that fills my soul and overtakes my body until I can’t see or stand and am over crying out to Him, then plain exhausted from crying out over it all.
Where are you, God? How in your world can this be anything good?!
Collisions and Abiding
You know, the truth is this whole blogging business, and subsequent Facebook page, began after a three year long shift and struggle – or straight-up tussle if you will – with God over our relationship and whether He IS Who He claims to be. I even describe this page, “where my heart and His Story collide” because walking out faith in my life is way more like a car crash or wrestling match of wills than an easy Sunday drive or rest in His best.
And basically, that’s where I’m at *once again* if I’m being honest. Because, I’ve promised to be honest here. This is no place to pretend. I never was good at pretend, anyway. Living a life of faith can be just as hard and messy and confusing as it is beautiful and joyful and full of love.
Though, more than not lately, my life of faith seems to be lived out in some messy underbelly of disrupted, distorted, disturbed, and discontented middle, full of flat-out, unwanted things! And it’s like I’m merely waiting on the good, the better, the best, the next thing. Anything! Now, please and thank you very much!
Wishing for what never happened and regretting what did and waiting on what bad thing might next or for that giant mountain ahead to move and the miracle to manifest. Trying to get through and get by as best I can. As fast as I can. Yet, more often failing and falling even faster.
Simply because, well… I can’t abide by God’s timing. There, I’ve said it. I also can’t seem to abide in His grace or be grateful for His daily mercies, either. It’s just hard and it’s a discipline and I’ve never been that disciplined. I’m learning but it doesn’t come easy, because it involves waiting upon and trusting in His Word. Waiting and trusting upon the countless promises that have been read and spoken over each and every situation that’s come my way countless times in the past. Because, truth is, He’s always been faithful.
So why am I finding it all so hard to believe now? Again.
Word and Work
Yet… There’s this still, small gnawing in my heart and this one thing I know (that I know that I know) that I believe to be true: God’s very Word IS His work.
God spoke the world into existence.
Jesus is the actual, living, breathing, walking, Word of God.
God’s word does not return void.
God cannot lie.
God will do all He has promised in His Word because He is faithful.
God completes what He starts.
God wills and acts according to His good pleasure and purpose.
And y’all, the bigger and best thing about all this is that God, through hours of honest, hard conversations and laments, and even harder confused, anger-fueled times spent together, has shown me *personally* in His very Word what I’m longing [though not waiting patiently enough] to see come to pass.
And so, how dare this collision be true of me?!
You see, in many hours spent in His presence and pouring through His pages of Scripture, He has promised so much and so much of it is good. He has promised Himself. He has promised He is always there, working when I can’t be and even when I can’t see. He has promised His very Word.
See, I have called out to Him every day for years now and He has answered. And my job now is simply to rest and believe what He’s shown, said, and done in His Story and in my past. My job now is simply to live every day knowing it is finished. My job now is to wait on His Word to work!
Simply because His words still work when we have no words left to share.
Promises and Faith in Community
So, can you hold me to this, friends? Can you hold me accountable to abide and trust and wait? Can you pray I would? Because I desperately need it.
And can I pray the same for you? Is there a deep hole, a longing, a disappointment lingering in your heart or threatening your faith? Is there a wound so deep and treacherous you’d rather not think of it, let alone speak of it? A brokenness you long to repair?
Because it’s been a while since I poured out my heart here and I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you how your heart is. How life is going for you? How your faith is flourishing or faltering in the face of any overwhelm?
And, if it’s faltering like mine, how’s your time spent in God’s presence? Are you basically begging and hoping He hears? Are you taking the time to listen to Him? Is your time together empty? Lacking? Non-existent? We can’t know God, let alone trust Him when we don’t spend time with Him. We can’t know the real Father until we believe Him to be our actual Father and treat Him like One who gives, guides, teaches, protects, and desires to be in our lives. Intimately.
And, if all that’s going well with you… you’ve dug into the deep places and have learned to lean in and be led by your Father, yet still feel stuck or fried or fed up, then we must stand firm. Firmly upon Jesus, waiting on His promises and trusting in His love for us.
Remember though, we can’t trust a person we haven’t believed in or learned has our best in His heart and died so we can live. We can’t know what He needs us to know until we take the time – give Him our time – and allow Him to show us. Nor can we hear His promises over our lives and over those we love unless we ask, listen, and keep trying to abide.
So, do you ask regularly and listen fully? Or do you ask, listen, falter, doubt, then forget like me? Or choose to completely not trust altogether, also like me? Do you pray for Him to show you His promises over your specific problems, then believe Him and thank Him for them, while resting in His faithful, sovereign, strong arms? Do you even believe you’re allowed or able to get that personal and go that deep with Him?
Do you know all He is asking is for our complete dependence and heart? Do you believe His love never fails?
And do you believe it’s only now occurring to me that I’m supposed to be doing something pretty important at this moment?! For someone I love, no less. Fairly time sensitive, actually. But I can’t move passed this moment because my anxiety feels like it’s breaking me and I desperately need to find some healing through this writing. I’d love to think it’s because someone needs to read this today, too. But truth is, it’s likely just me. Yet, if by chance that’s not the case, I pray we each find the healing and hope we desperately need through these words. I pray we each seek and believe the personal words God is specifically speaking over our individual situations and, from this very day forward, decide to trust He’s already worked out every bit of all of it, through His Word.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.