I met with a new friend yesterday. We’d scheduled to meet twice before, and both times we’d cancelled – because work, because travel, because life. January became July, and we finally made a date we didn’t have to break.
We were just two white gals with our laptops in Starbucks, still strangers, but deep in conversation, deeply connected by the conversation the Spirit of God had been having in both our hearts since January. And I realized while sitting there, in those six months of broken connection, God had been breaking common ground within us. There was purpose in His timing.
A few months back, my daughter and I strolled to the mailbox in the dark. I’d been waiting for the magazine that had printed my words, and for 7 days at least, I’d hustled to the mailbox in expectation, all the while, tamping my enthusiasm, just in case. On the way, I said I’d give up waiting if it wasn’t there.
It wasn’t there.
And on the way home, I said I’d keep waiting after all, because I’m wired to be a hopeful dreamer, even though sometimes, I wish I wasn’t. Carrying hope is tiring. Endurance exposes my weakness.
But that’s just it – I practice endurance. I finish my chores all the way before I cross them off. I get 5 hours of exercise a week, no questions asked. And when something comes out of me that isn’t a fruit of the Spirit, I give my heart a full examination, confront the problem, and dig it out. I take risks that could end in crushing disappointment – and sometimes they have. Endurance and waiting should be easier by now.
I took a risk last week and now I’m in the restless space between hope born and hope realized. I see it on the horizon sometimes, and I nod. I like seeing it there, expecting something ahead, but for now, I’m in the waiting space, the space of dependence, the space of patience. The space where I find out I’m not that patient.
These are the times when I when I chew gum like fiend, my jaw pounding harder than my heartbeat. These are the times when I criticize my body, holding the old lie that if I looked better, life would be better. These are the times the doubt voice is loudest and the accusations make more sense than the truth. These are the times when I wonder why I fiddle with hope at all, because courage takes guts and guts require hustle and sometimes I’d rather just wrap myself in the comfy blanket of apathy and drink my coffee without a single thought in my head, for heaven’s sake.
It’s a lie though. Who would I be without hope?
The journey of spiritual growth doesn’t have blankets, it has covers – of peace and strength, patience and ridiculous courage. Faith assures us what we see isn’t the whole picture and what we can’t see yet – the purpose and good of it all – will push through only if we do. Enduring hope is the journey; hope realized is hindsight. It’s when we see the gathering of many pieces in His perfect timing. It’s when we see ourselves at a table, connecting with someone of similar spirit, saying things we couldn’t have understood without the journey and the space to grow.
The spaces in which we wait aren’t times, but timing. I struggle to believe it in the waiting, but it always proves true in the end. God has the supernatural ability to finish everything He starts. We carry hope and He carries out His purpose – every time.
In all that you wait for and hope for, be encouraged, friend. And keep on.
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