(Summary: Read my blog “Do You Hate to Wait?” on Desiring God.)
Yes, I hate to wait. Hate. I’m fuming. Seething. Waiting? No. I will not wait. I’ve run out of steps forward. Depleted of moments of unction. My hopper of hopeful epiphanies is empty. God’s grace? I don’t even know.
This retrospective series through my Desiring God blogs has been an exercise in time travel. I wrote this particular DG blog while waiting for something I desperately wanted. It must have seemed pathetic. I wrote it, haunted by the anxiety of possible states of affairs – unwanted factors, unwelcome failures, unwaning feelings.
Surely God has a sick sense of humor. I wrote this blog, waited . . . and the answer was no. Delayed disappointment. I couldn’t have known. But I hold myself responsible for what I should have known. What an idiot. Wait. Can I take a step back and hear what I just said? “Should have known.” “I should have known it wouldn’t work out.” “I should have known I would fail.” “I should have known, and not only am I a fool for trying, but God probably made it happen just to teach me not to expect.”
A friend recently told me, “You need to start showing yourself grace, because you are destroying yourself for being imperfect.” Wow. Maybe (sometimes) our impatience with God is a product of our impatience with ourselves. Maybe, sometimes, we demand from God grace that we won’t even give ourselves. The dagger we hold up to his throat reflects our deep belief that if we drop the kinfe and just keep waiting patiently, maybe God even won’t fight back … maybe he’ll just forget about us entirely.
“The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by [the wicked’s] might. He says in his heart, ‘God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.’ Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted” (Psalm 10:10-12).
“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence” (Heb. 5:7)
“During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew” (Exodus 2:23-25 ESV).
These are not Scriptures that entice a hopeful feeling. These are verses which teach us that hope does not need to take place the way Christians would often have it take place. Sometimes hope isn’t a feeling. Sometimes grit is the only form of hope we have. Grit that says to the wicked, to the world, to the new Pharaoh, “I’ll take the wrench” Good Will Hunting style. It does not have a “God is good” note tied to the back. The goodness of God is not always the most relevant category for every situation.
Sometimes, all we get from Scripture for our circumstance is that God exists, and he acts, and he is not apathetic about our circumstances. These are not for listening in the major key. These are verses for “sitting among the ashes” (Job 2:8). God is working and listening very actively. “The Lord’s hand is not shortened that it can’t save, or his ear dull that it can’t hear” (Is 59:1). That’s what we have to work with. That is what hope looks like. That is also what grace looks like.
Sometimes you don’t get a choice. What’s the line between patience and suffering? Between impatience and bitterness? Do you hate to wait? He loves. Therefore, he hears. And he acts. Hope happens, and it doesn’t always have to be a product of our will, of our unctions, of our feelings. God just does hope – unpredictably, without formula, without presumption, and without explanation.
Read my blog “Do You Hate to Wait?” on Desiring God. It is another blog that I needed, and still need.