Recently, I left my house to seek silence somewhere; anywhere would be fine. I was panicky, and I needed to secure my heart in Christ, but it was too noisy and busy at home. I found solitude (sort of) in my car at Wendy’s. I read Waiting on God by Andrew Murray, wrote in my journal, and read scripture.
So much of the Christian life is about waiting. In our idealized understanding of faith, we wait on perfection in our own souls, but perfection never comes—not until heaven.
We wait for prayers to be answered and for our minds and hearts to be changed about one thing or another—like loving sweets, hating vegetables, or hating certain parts of life and its difficulties.
And we wait for the Kingdom of God and heaven.
Sometimes, I confess, these desires and waiting for more lead me to a panic of sorts. I feel a frenetic longing that can’t be satisfied. I understand that longing; it comes from the very heart of heaven. Things are not like they should be. We were meant for glory, eternal life, and beauty—lots and lots of beauty and wholeness. But we live in a world where there is great harm and ugliness.
I look at the glob of grayish goo that I can sometimes be, and I want to have more beauty and substance—a greater sense of being solid and gloriously balanced. I want the promises of God to ring true to my heart every minute of every day, but they don’t. Today, for instance, I struggled to hear his voice as I went through my day. The day began well, but was invaded by stuff—things that caused unbelief and hopelessness to creep in.
After fleeing for solitude, I sat in the car building up the defenses around my assailed heart—letting the Word soak into me, and fighting the good fight of faith.
I read, Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night, even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day…
Yes, he sees my darkness and it is not dark to him; it is light.
I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the…miry clay and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth; a song of praise to our God…How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust.
He knows how to bring me out, and he can and does put a song of praise in my mouth. As I trust Him, I am blessed—not necessarily by the fulfillment of my desires, but by the infinite satisfaction that is found in him.
After a couple hours meditating, praying, and journaling, I left; I was encouraged and more grounded. As I prepared to enter the highway, I saw a large, perfectly shaped oak tree on the median across the road. It was naked against a gray sky that was growing darker by the minute. It’s solid beauty and uplifted branches reminded me of God in me. The sight spoke as powerfully as the Word had spoken earlier.
I may feel like goo, but I’m more like the oak. This is the real me: the made-in-the-image of God me. The one who is strong, and anchored in Christ—not the one floating around un-tethered to anything except my peculiar frailties. Yes, I’m the one who reaches toward heaven with outstretched arms in hope of his coming and power—the one who abides in trust with roots running deep into the source of my present and eternal hope.
After passing the tree, I began to sing a new song trusting in the promise of Psalm 40:3—making up words as I drove home. “You are my strength. You are faithful, and true. My heart hopes in your unfailing love. I will call upon your name and you will hear because you always see me.”
In my mind, I kept envisioning that large glorious oak as me grounded in Christ with his glorious presence abiding in me, hoping completely in him, and lifting my needy arms toward heaven. Goo be gone.
Photo of Oak by Ansel Adams