This morning, for no reason in particular, I woke up crying. Sure, I could find a plethora of names for each of those tears, but I’ll just call it “life in general.” I went on with my morning after enjoying (there’s “joy” in that there word, y’all) a sleep-in. So in spite of my tears, I found joy.
My morning followed the usual rituals: let the dogs out, feed the dogs, feed myself, make coffee, sit at my desk and partake of a brief Netflix binge. It was the bingeing that got me.
I’m currently watching a silly show that I’ve watched for 3 seasons now, but am not really that into. It is more like background noise at this point. I’m not sure why I keep “watching” it, but alas, I do. Today, however, something grabbed my attention. One of the main characters died. Yes, he actually died. His beloved was desperately trying to convince him to stay with her, and her tears were literally falling on his face. This is where the “got” part began.
He said, “All I wanted in my life was to find joy. We had that, together. But now it’s time for me to go. You have to let me go.”
Before I knew what was happening, my own tears were literally sprinkling my desk with soggy blots. I could not take my eyes from the screen.
In agony, she cried out, “No! Don’t leave me! I can’t do this without you!”
In his weakened state, he smiled, and said, “You can. You are the strongest woman I know. You will find love again. You will find joy again. I promise.”
I stopped just short of looking around the room to see if someone else had said those words. My eyes, however, were still glued to the screen. Was God really using Hollywood to speak to me? Hey, stranger things have happened. But coming right on the heels of waking up with tears on my face, I knew this was God’s tender, gentle way of wrapping me in His warmth and love.
The episode ended and I wiped my tears away. But I was unsettled. I felt God was still trying to tell me something. I randomly clicked on a tab in my web browser and found myself face to face with an article I had read a couple weeks ago, and had been saving to re-read at a quiet moment. The title of the article? The Unwelcome Gift of Waiting.
The author, someone I have never heard of before, is Veneetha Rendell Risner. In this article, she explains her own private battle with waiting on God. She never mentions what, exactly, she was waiting for, and (this part I love), she never says “and when it was all over, I got even MORE than I had hoped for!” No. She says she waited for a clear answer from God. For years. YEARS. She begged for a sign, she begged for direction, she begged for peace. She got nothing.
Did she ever get an answer? Yep. What was it? A big fat N-O. She described how angry and hurt she was. All she had asked for was an answer–yes or no. And what did she get? “Wait.” And then a “no.”
She struggled with resentment for a while after that. Who wouldn’t? But what she did next really struck me. She delved deeper into a study of Abraham and his test of faith. Abraham, she learned, waited 25 years!! And at the end of the waiting, God produced Isaac, the future of the line that would beget Jesus so many centuries later. And then what happened? Abraham was faced with the ultimate test of faith.
God asked him to sacrifice his only son. The one who he had waited faithfully (and not so faithfully) for, for a quarter of a century. God said, “Here he is! Now, hand him back please.” What would you do? Personally, I would have run for the hills, suffering from a temporary moment of insanity and forgetting the whole omnipotent thing God has got going on. No, I would have run and hidden. Just like Abraham didn’t.
Nope. He loaded his son up, he took him where he was meant to go and he strapped him down to a pyre. God spared Isaac and blessed Abraham. But the point is not that he spared Isaac. The point I got from reading Vaneetha’s article was this:
God spent 25 years preparing Abraham for the big test. God developed his relationship with Abraham. He taught him, he rebuked him, he loved him, and forgave him. He talked with him and molded him. And in spite of himself, Abraham learned. So when the time came for him to return his precious boy back to heaven, he knew, he absolutely knew God was in control. God had the whole thing planned out long before Abraham was even a thought in his mother’s mind! God knew everything! And it didn’t stop with Abraham. God does this so many more times in the Bible and he shows his glory in ways that no one could have ever imagined.
So as I walked out my front door this morning, I thought, “God? Show me your glory. Show me where to go today. Let’s get to know each other better.” I got in my car and the radio was on the Christian radio station. Guess what song was on?
“Show Me Your Glory” by Third Day. Why am I always surprised? I just had to laugh.
God, where will you show me your glory this week? Will I laugh and clap my hands at it? Or will I sob my eyes out and feel my heart break? I don’t know. I do know you will be there, by my side, teaching me and loving me through it all.
I’ll be there too…learning.