Its after two a.m. now — my house is finally clean, and John Waller is flooding through my headphones. I’ve never been good at waiting, and I think God must know this about me, because he continually makes me practice. I’ve always thought it easy to sense him moving when things are happening. I felt him moving when Kevin and Katie were called to minister in a different state. I knew he was near when I learned of the death of David and Jessica’s baby boy. I sensed his presence so strongly when I spoke vows two summers ago.
But he doesn’t seem so close on an idle Thursday night filled up by laundry and dishes and scrubbing the ring around the bathtub. Real estate agents are coming to look at our house tomorrow — our landlady has decided she wants to sell, and we do not want to buy — ergo, we must begin looking for another place to rent. But the truth is, our hearts are not here. Our hearts ache for a town two counties over: the city where we went to college, cultivated deeply rooted friendships, fell in love, and where we still attend church. The Lord was faithful to provide this little house, right in the middle of town. He was faithful to open doors for our jobs. But the door to return to Toccoa remains closed, for now.
We’re in the bittersweet balance of in between: trusting that the Lord has us where he wants us today, and at the same time, longing for the hope of his plan for tomorrow. Sometimes, it just seems like too much to cope with. I’ve busied myself, hardened my heart in frustration at times. I’ve struggled with loneliness like never before. At my worst, I’ve given in to the thought that this season is devoid of purpose — that God is just being mean for the sake of it, and thank you but no thank you, God, I don’t think I could possibly take anything of value away from this, so you can just quit while you’re behind, because this is not at all what I had in mind.
It seems like life is just piling up, and I’ve got a lot of questions — but at the end of the day, it boils down to the basics: who am I, and what am I called to?
I know in my heart of hearts that he isn’t hiding — I’ve just been avoiding him. It isn’t something I’m particularly proud to admit, but there it is. I’m broken, sick and tired of eating manna in the wilderness. I don’t want to pray, don’t want to want anymore because the wanting is just too painful. Patience is a pill I have vehemently refused.
I reached something of a crossroads over dinner tonight. Earlier in the night, Craig admitted that he felt like a failure. I couldn’t help but echo the sentiment for myself. And oh how the invisible dam behind my eyelids struggled to contain the surge of hot liquid salt. I told him that it seemed like the right time to pray — time to remember that peace is not a place on the map, but the person of Christ, who desires to flood the here and now with glory. He invites us to cast our cares on him, because he cares for us. He is our refuge.
So I lift my eyes once more, and whisper a prayer for consolation that brings forth joy, a prayer that all else would fade away in the light of his goodness. I’m confident that I will see his goodness, even in this place.