I wish I had words.
I wish this ample angst- this stirring and whirling and churning excitement of expectant hope mixed wildly with an incomparable depth of longing – had some form of articulation.
One minute, I’m in the midst of imagining the most profound of possible outcomes: Fully believing for the fulfillment of wildest dreams, beginning to taste the sweetness of hope – barely able to be articulated – come to fruition. The next minute, I’m standing in full on recognition of the alternate possibility: An outcome 180 degrees the opposite of what I long for, scooting itself right on into the scene – like a retriever puppy, propping itself at the window and scouring the back yard for his old ratty ball.
We have this high and holy hope;
That what He has done,
He will continue to do,
That what He has begun in us and our world,
He will in unimaginable ways
Bring to fullness and fruition.
This spectrum of present emotions seems wider than humanly possible for a hard-core analyst, who’s M.O. trends notoriously towards ‘think before you feel’. But, amidst a situation both pregnant with possibility and racked with the unknown, I’ve got a Texas mile-wide range of straight up feelings happening over here.
When God’s best is fully being believed for,
and the miraculous faithfully expected,
How are we to be through the wait?
How do we stand 100% hopeful for a clear and undeniably desired outcome, while at the very same time remaining 100% open-handed – fully accepting in advance whatever that final outcome will be? What do you do with a longing so powerful it sits in your stomach and barely lets you breathe – yet the knowledge that attaching yourself to an outcome sets you up for the potential destroyal of any semblance of sanity for a solid season thereafter?
Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best,
But God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time but painful.
Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace
for those who have been trained by it.
In the waiting, the clear and well marked in-between, I’ve grown fully aware of the process taking place. This silence that’s calling my heart to surrender. This stillness beckoning my mind to obey. This stretching – lengthening – holding out – calling me to just. sit. tight. To let my human heart accept the fact that it has zero potential to shift things; zero degree of influence; zero capacity to nudge, coerce or finagle the final outcome.
Sure I’m aware of a million and seven ways I could jump in… destroy the silence, console the struggle, take matters into my own hands. I could connive, manipulate, attempt to put together a creative solve I really think would be just fine for the situation. I’ve gotten quite good at that game actually …
But by taking control
I voluntarily forfeit the harvest…
the one growing in and up and straight out of me.
How is that ever a good idea?
I’m realizing I have to let this little workout actually train my soul’s stabilizing muscles … just like I’d have to allow a physical workout to actually challenge my body past current capacity in order to see any progress.
Say I roll out and decide to hit a typical Monday morning routine: A solid combination of push presses, weighted lunges & push ups, kicking off with a usual progression of back squats. I warm up, peel off a few layers, and load up my bars. I line up the same combo of plates I used last time I ran through this set of squats – no additional weight, no added challenge. Weighted lunges… mmm we let those turn into weightless ones. It’s Mondayyy. And then presses… well I decide to leave off the cumbersome plates and just go with the measly 35 lb barbell. I bang the whole thing out in record time.
Do I expect my shoulders to achieve any tangible, measurable growth from having done the same thing they’ve been used to for months? How might my little/not so little/ginormous quads go through the breakdown required to build them back up stronger than before? Our bodies are too smart to let the same weights continue to torture us. They acclimate. Weeks at the same weight progression and any of us would be snoozing under that barbell.
Sure – our little stabilizing muscles would never tear and rip and shake and give out. We would never lay sore in bed, wanting for relief. Never on a normal day would it be hard to sit down or to take the stairs, or make getting back on the rower feel like we are going to the guillotine.
But growth – real growth – only happens when we allow ourselves to struggle; to get in the uncomfortable rather than looking for an escape; to actively choose to let ourselves succumb to the process that we cannot, from our finite and time-limited perspective, visibly see.
In these moments,
where we let our brilliantly built hearts
and minds and bodies
co-create with their maker,
We open space for the harvest to work itself out.
This uncomfortable place of steadily choosing submission over control.
This is a PLATFORM for growth.
This is the very space to either take the driver’s seat or relinquish it; to let the process shape and mold and bend us to the likeness of the one who bent and broke himself to death for us, or to bring about a premature death of the harvest by going our own way.
To have faith is to remember and wait,
And to wait in hope
is to have what we hope for already
begin to come true in us through our hoping.
Soooooo, amongst this spectrum of angst and inarticulable gamut of emotions, I get to let God do some work. When I cannot see what’s coming and don’t fully understand the process – I get to delve deep into the gift of prayer, petition and praise. To lift to him my swirling heart and exercise the muscle of gratitude. To recognize the power in the steady surrender of the already – in the richness of life I have in Christ regardless of the outcome about to unfold – and HOPE in the not yet.
For the God who raised an army of dry bones to life,
who dominated the grave himself,
who does more than our overly active brains
could ever even consider imagining,
Is the same God we get to bring
every ounce of our breathless longing to.
We hope for it ALL
and hold it ALL with an open hand.