“Your husband sure is fortunate to have such a lovely, beautiful wife”, the pleasant, elderly man leans in to confide to me. “Oh, I’m not married”, I grin back, twisting the little, gold, ring from my family that for the thousandth time in habit I’ve forgotten to put on another finger. “Well, some young man needs to hurry up and get with it while he can”, he rejoins. Then, as if it puzzles him how a nice, young thing like me could possibly be single and attempting to come up with a logical reason, “You don’t want that right now?”
Once again I lightheartedly laugh at the well-meant mistake. This time though there’s an accompanying, inward sigh. A new, yearning ache for that holy, wondrous role God has created for me as a woman – a Helper. Marriage – that deep, hard, self-sacrifical, vulnerable, covenantal, love that’s learning to live the Gospel to one another and the world. Don’t want? Try, the total non-existence of the godly, young man pursuing me.
Then, later on in the day I stumble across a blog post about a young lady passionately serving Jesus as a missionary (in Uganda, of course.) Why, Lord, are you allowing my heart to overflow for these beautiful, mighty, good, ways of ministry without an outlet? Don’t You know it’s getting kinda hard to keep telling people I’m still doing the same thing?
To some people God gives deep, agonizing, valleys of the soul to draw them to Himself. To me He grants the wildernesses of waiting. The horizon-to-horizon deserts of sameness. Oh Lord, let them not be wastelands. I can’t bear to waste this precious life that no longer is my own.
And Jesus, once again, so faithfully, so gently, so graciously, teaches me.
Through the words of Ann Voskamp: that I want neat-as-pie answers and Jesus wants me to know Him. That Love doesn’t happen when I’ve arrived at some rosily imagined place or future, but, when my heart arrives at the place of recognizing the deep gulfs of need for Christ all about me. Choosing to let Jesus love through me the precious people and places He’s chosen for me right here, right now.
Proverbs 27:5: “Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed.” In other words, do you really love them? Do you really love Him? Then, let His love spill out for them in your actions. Otherwise you might as well give them a harsh slap of chastisement.
The words of a worship song: “The river knows its bounds.” Remember again, O my soul, Proverbs 8:29: “When He assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters would not transgress His command.” He says to the Sea of Circumstance threatening to flood the coastlines of my heart, “You can come this far and no more.”
Through John Piper and His telling of the biblical story of Ruth: that God sovereignly orchestrates every detail of the universe for the glory of Christ. Which means that any other way I could imagine for my life right now would actually mean that Christ would be glorified less.
Wham. Nevermind. What was I doubtful about again?
“Put your trust in God – I will yet give thanks to Him. Whatever God ordains is right; to Him I leave it all. Be still and know your Maker; be satisfied in Him. Then I will go to the altar of God, my exceeding joy!” More snatches of lyrics from the beautiful, song-prayers of Sandra McCracken’s new Psalms album. Yes, O Lord, turn my heart from narrow-seeing fretfulness to looking to You in joyful thankfulness and praise!
His Voice speaking to my heart: “Will you surrender all this to Me?” Shaky breath out. Yes. Yes, because I love You Jesus, more. I wouldn’t want my life any other way than You lovingly decree.
“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” ~ Psalm 37:7
“Wait upon the Lord.” Again? Yet, what does that old, childhood verse say?
“They that wait upon the Lord, they shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:31
And (shout of exultant promise!) Isaiah 35: “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad…the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing…they shall see the glory of the Lord, the excellency of our God…waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.”
“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” ~ Psalm 27:14
Teach me, Lord, to wait.