I’m not a gold-digger or anything, but I had some expectations of this new relationship that I was in. I mean, I knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight. I figured I’d have to “pay my dues,” really show HIM that I was in it for real, you know? I was fine with that…until years later and I’m so worn out from all the heavy lifting. I mean, I’m tired.
Yes, CHRISTian, I know all the slogans and lofty Scriptural references you want to revert to, but hold off on your CHRISTian-speak (CHRISTianese) for a minute and let the real speak right now. Truth is, I’m tired.
Can I paint a picture for you for a minute, of what my life was supposed to be like when I handed it over to the ONE Who created me? Can I tell you how delicious it was all supposed to taste the way I whipped it up in my mind? See, I was told that if I came to HIM, I would get beauty for my ashes and dancing for mourning, so why do I mourn and still sit in ashes? I mean, I paid my dues; I’ve been on HIS team for a minute now. And, it’s not like I was greedy or anything. My aspirations weren’t lofty or anything, but when I heard beauty, I thought HE was going to take away the ashes of the broken, burnt-up pieces of my life and give me a new one, scarless and hopefully painless. Is it too much to ask the GOD of the universe?
So when we lost our home, I wondered, “where’s the beauty in this?”…but I consoled myself with CHRISTian-speak much like the ones you were going to quote to me earlier. You see, I wanted to be faithful. But hiding from landlords and ladies because the rent was short (or missing) and getting eviction notices contradicted the picture I had in my mind of what my life would be like on this so-called winning team…but I wanted to be faithful.
I had prayed long before I even knew what “amen” meant, that HE would change my dad, make him turn away from the bottle and turn his heart to love my brothers and mother and me, and I was sure that once I started to follow (you know, paid my dues and all?), it would finally happen, but yet again, all I saw were my footprints in the ashes of a dysfunctional family. Ashes everywhere, but I wanted to be faithful. I had stopped dating guys “in the world”. I had decided to be abstinent. I would focus on the LORD’s work and of course I would be open only to guys who were CHRISTian too, so why was I still sitting in the ashes of broken relationships and mourning the loss of what could have been? I’m seeing flowing white gowns rocking to the melody of first dances, where was my dancing?
And so I screamed at HIM. I was at the end of another failed relationship and this was the tipping point. I was tired. I had been faithful and HE unfaithful and I was going to let HIM have it! “YOU didn’t cover me, LORD!” “I feel naked, vulnerable, and alone and YOU didn’t cover me!” “YOU said that if my desires were good, YOU would honor them. Why am I still in so much pain? Where is my beauty?” And so, I accused GOD. I wanted to break up with HIM…but I knew I couldn’t. Where would I go when HE is everywhere? So, I shook my ant-sized fist at HIM and blamed this everywhere-GOD for not being there for me. I was tired. My world wasn’t much better than it was before I met HIM…what was the point of this so-called walk? Where were all the good things I was promised when I came to faith in HIM? And no, I’m not necessarily even talking of the nice cars and white picket fenced house (I don’t even like white picket fences). I knew HE wasn’t a genie. BUT I had some expectations and HE wasn’t meeting them. Where was my successful career? I didn’t need to be making a million dollars a year or anything, but I at least didn’t want to have to drive all over the city just to get a paycheck.
My expectations definitely weren’t low but they weren’t gold-digger high either. A good degree, a nice job, a good home in a safe community, a functional family, perfect health, great relationships (all the time), a life companion, and a relatively drama-free life. That was, to me, a small thing to ask a GOD Who creates clouds and blood vessels at the same time without even blinking. So, why was HE leaving me here in my ashes? Where was the fulfilled life, the victorious life I was supposed to be living as a CHRISTian? You see, before this, in my attempts to be faithful, I had been polite in my prayers to HIM. And I get reverence for GOD, but this was more of walking on egg-shells around HIM. I’d tell HIM what was going on with me but I’d say it as politically correctly as I could; I just wanted to be faithful. But on this day, I blamed HIM. I pointed the finger at HIM and called HIM unfaithful.
Get the gravity of that.
Me…a sinful, filthy person, pointed my sinful, filthy finger at a holy, perfect GOD (Who, by the way, created that finger I was pointing). GOD, Who made provision for my sins (my unfaithfulness included) to be forgiven and for me to be reconciled to HIMSELF by having JESUS CHRIST take my place on the cross and bear HIS wrath for my sins. Yes.
That GOD is Who I was pointing at and saying, “YOU’re unfaithful” to. Wow. And get this. Right there, at my lowest point, the very definition and embodiment of faithfulness was meeting me, and pulling me up, and carrying me. Relentlessly pouring out HIS love upon me amidst the court case that was going on in my heart, HE broke through the doors and started reminding me of what it was all about. This relationship I had with HIM, the beauty I had failed to see, the person HE had ransomed me to be, the picture more beautiful than the one I had painted. You see, in my picture, I was dancing around beautiful things that made my heart glad, but in HIS picture, we (HIM and I) were dancing around beautiful things that made HIS heart glad.
In my picture, it all revolved around me. No wonder I was heartbroken. I was looking for beauty but I was looking in all the wrong places. I was seeking, through the dark goggles of my sinful heart, what HE could do for me, to make life beautiful for me. See, in my mind, I did make a genie of HIM. In my mind, HE existed to please me, and not the other way around.
In my brokenness, HE led me to see that my expectations were all wrong, not because what I wanted weren’t good things, but because although I had proclaimed to be sold out to HIM, I was really looking out for me. I was still the king of my own world and HE was going to make my world a little better.
In HIS love HE broke through the doors of my heart and revealed this truth to me. The whole while, when I thought I was being faithful, I was truly living for me. I was the unfaithful one all along and HE was being tremendously patient with me, even amidst my accusations.
You see, this life, this whole thing that we have made to be about ourselves, is truly about HIM, and we exist to serve and honor HIM , not the other way around. And we are saved, not for nice jobs and good houses and functional families and drama-devoid relationships, but for good works that bring glory and honor to HIM. I know, there’s that CHRISTian speak that we don’t like to hear but truth has a tendency to irritate our self-centered, world-loving flesh, but the same truth is the only way through which life comes so listen to it, and let it do what it does.
I learned through pain and trials, that my life is not my own. After years of following the LORD, I finally stepped down from my throne and bowed before HIS in surrender. Now my only expectations are that HE will daily give me grace to honor HIM and bring glory to HIM in whatever circumstances HE allows me to be in, and that HE will keep me to the very end when I will be with HIM eternally, worshiping HIM and dancing in the beauty of HIS presence along with my brothers and sisters who also place their faith in this faithful GOD.
I ask you to evaluate your expectations in your walk with the LORD. No matter how good they sound, if they mostly revolve around you, check your heart, step down from your throne, and assume a life posture of worship before the LORD Who created and redeemed you for HIS glory. You are not your own. “For by HIM all things were created, in Heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through HIM and for HIM.” Colossians 1:16 ESV