I woke up this morning with a Bible passage in my head. This sounds like a much holier experience than it was, so I should also say that it was mixed in with assorted lyrics from a Cassidee Pope song. I did a keyword search on Biblegateway to try to sort the mess out and found this scolding from God via the prophet Isaiah:
In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.
(NOTE: isn’t funny how all the motivational posters of this passage skip this last part of the sentence, the part where God’s people say, “Well that’s one option, God, but we’ve decided to go with a different plan”?)
You said, “No, we will flee on horses.” Therefore you will flee!”
You said, “We will ride off on swift horses.” Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
I am so busted.
I’ve been keeping BUSY. I’ve had a lot of work to do, so I’ve been WORKING. I’ve been FINE. I haven’t made all that much time to listen to God because it’s felt good to have other tangible things to think about beyond all the things that make me sad and scared and furious. And because frankly, I’m not all that pleased with His decisions lately. (And by lately, I mean for about the past five years.)
It’s working out pretty well for me so far. I’ve been liking it. And yet I look at the words above and know God has a point: that eventually all my work projects will be completed and I’ll be back at square one trying to make myself believe that doing seventeen micro-loads of laundry which have been obsessively sorted by hue and fabric content is an important use of my day.
I owe God an apology.
I would love to be one of those ever-believing pillars of the faith who never doubt or waiver, who stand firm in their conviction that the Lord will come through. I am sometimes, and on occasion have even kept it up for an entire afternoon. (Usually those are the days I’m pretending to be Michelle Duggar, but whatever gets the job done, right?) This morning, I feel like Jesus is giving me a firm talking to, asking, “Are you going to rise to the occasion here? Are you going to slow down, chill out, and trust that I’ll bring justice, or are you going to run away?”
Confession: I wrote everything above, and then I stopped. I was stuck. I don’t like to post things that don’t have some sort of encouragement or hope in them, and I didn’t have any. I didn’t even have an answer for Jesus’ question, because I didn’t much like his options.
I could have made up some sort of encouraging blog conclusion, of course. I had the perfect pithy wrap-up sentence running through my head about how delighted I’ll be today, calmly waiting on the Lord. But it was a total lie because that’ s not my plan at all. When I finish here, I’m running out the door to the DMV to register our car and I have no expectation that it will be a blessed time of waiting patiently. But I’d rather stall than lie, so I opened a new browser window and cast about for a picture of Michelle Duggar to illustrate this post.
That’s when I found this interview where she talks about dealing with her anger. As she described the gulf between the mean mommy she becomes sometimes and the loving mommy she wants to be, I saw the gulf I’m facing: between the chilly, distant woman who is exhausted and can’t deal with anything else, and the warm, relatable woman who has been through some stuff but is kept afloat by God’s ridiculous peace that surpasses understanding. There was a season where keeping my guard up was a smart idea (I’ve learned that when people accuse you of being “too guarded” it’s usually because they want something from you that you’re not giving them.) But that season is over. It’s time to chill out, rest, and let God handle the aftermath and next steps of everything that has happened.
This gives me a hope: that the “justice” promised in the passage above isn’t just a thwarting of bad guys and restoration of what’s been lost out in the world, but also an internal restoration of what’s been lost in me.