Readers, I'm just going to be totally honest with you about my doubt and the fact that I am spiritually exhausted, because I am so tired of waiting on the Lord's timing. So, so tired of it. To be even more honest, I'm even tired of hearing about the Lord's timing and how perfect it is. I know that probably sounds terrible but it's totally true in my life right now and I'm guessing it's also true for some of you, so I'm going to write about it anyway. (Saying something like that will probably earn me a spot in the Bad Christian Club, but whatever--we've all been there at one time or another).
Do you ever get to a point with a situation where you are just DONE waiting on the Lord and all you want to do is just take matters into your own hands? I have waited and waited and waited, and waiting is the most exhausting thing ever. I read an article once where someone asked why that was the case--because doesn't Scripture clearly say that those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength, not wait themselves into total exhaustion? So where is the disconnect? The writer speculated that waiting is usually an exhausting endeavor because we think we're waiting on the Lord, but what we're really waiting on is for our need or desire to get fulfilled, whatever it may be. We're not waiting on God, we're waiting on that thing. I know that's exactly what I'm doing now, but I don't know how to stop. Because I've waited and worked and prayed for my "thing" for so long, and I am so, so sick of waiting and wondering if I will ever get it. I have prayed hundreds of prayers for this over several years, both in general and specific terms, and those prayers haven't been answered yet and every day I catch myself wondering if they ever will be answered, or if this is an area of my life where God will not acknowledge my prayers--even though I have seen him faithfully answer prayers in other areas of my life. Even though I have reason to believe I'm closer than I have ever been before to having my desire finally fulfilled, I'm terrified that this is just like all the times before when it's fallen apart at the last minute, afraid to believe that this time it could be different, afraid of intense disappointment, and most of all, tired of walking around Jericho. I've walked around my personal Jericho a whole lot more than seven times, and the walls still stand as firm as ever, and I want to just turn around and leave. To forget about claiming the promised land. I have reason to believe I'm in mile 26 of my spiritual marathon, but all I want to do is stop running because I'm not even sure if the finish line is really out there.
And while we're waiting, what are we to do with the desires of our hearts--those things that we want so deeply, that we just can't stop thinking about, that keep us awake at night, tossing and turning with the utter nagging discomfort of an unfulfilled longing? Do we acknowledge these desires? Or do we push them away and try to pretend we're detached from them because we're A) terrified that they won't be fulfilled, and if you don't expect anything, you won't be disappointed, and/ or B) terrified that even to call something a desire of the heart is to want it too badly, and that wanting something too badly is idolatry, and that the most suitable "punishment" for this is for God to never let us have that thing and thus show us that we didn't really need it all that badly in the first place? And I think we all want to be able to say, "Even if God never gives me this thing I desperately need and want, I'll still believe that He is sovereign and does what is best for me," even though we know we'll really be crushed, angry, and having a faith crisis if that's what happens. Because we're human, and we can't trust perfectly because we are imperfect people. So then my prayer becomes, honestly, "Lord, I don't believe. Help my unbelief!"
The more you allow yourself to acknowledge that you want something, the more you open yourself up to getting your heart broken. To want is to be vulnerable. And this is scary. But then there are things we simply want so much we're just not willing to act like we don't care about the outcome. Because we do care--so, so much. And we also know it's wrong to want anything more than we want to serve, follow, and obey our Savior, but what about if we're pretty certain that we want something that will enable us to do all of the above? And we think it's wrong to have so much hope and desire vested in something that we know we'd be devastated if it didn't work out, because then we're not really believing that Jesus is enough, but only that Jesus + our fulfilled desire is enough, and there is a difference. Oh yes, there is a difference.
But I have waited so long for this. So, so long. And I'm just not willing to let it go right now, because I know it's not just something I want--it's also something I really, really need. So I'm taking one day at a time in this season of sheer exhaustion. I desperately need my strength to be renewed, but for now, I can walk around Jericho at least once more. And maybe, just maybe, one more time will be enough.