The Measure of Faithfulness4:42 AM
The boy I love doesn't know if he's saved. This is a hard thing for me. He makes me laugh, he gives the best hugs, he reads Edgar Allen Poe aloud in strange accents, he writes odes to blank paper, pens and ink, he asks tough questions, he points me back to the truth when I hyperventilate lies and despair -- but he does not think he knows Jesus. And there's this constant ache in my heart because of it...because we both know that two people on different roads cannot walk together.
I began praying months ago. Come to think of it, much has happened in both our lives to prove that God's working in us and through us, together and separately. Still, he does not know and I, I do not know. That point has not been reached, that realization has not been manifested, that prayer has not yet been fully answered.
Even though he's come so far, I cry more now because I love him more now. It seems more impossible now that it seems so possible. How will we know? And what if he's doing it for me? And why, why do we love each other so much if it means nothing in the end?
I pray. I trust God to work. I know He loves the lost, I know He's called the boy I love, but it seems like the stuff that never actually happens in Real Life...at least, not in the real life I live.
How long, how long, how long? If I were more spiritual -- if I prayed harder -- if I got rid of wrong motives -- if he only cried out more -- if he'd only study theology -- if, if, if -- but we both know that it's not us we're waiting on. We're waiting on God.
This confused me: Why would God withhold His salvation from someone who clearly wants to change, who prays every day to know the truth? Surely, surely God would jump into action at a chance like this!
Going off what I wrote a few days ago, waiting sometimes makes me feel like a spiritual failure. Elijah prayed for fire from heaven and it fell instantly. Peter said, "Rise up and walk!" and the lame man immediately went walking and leaping and praising God. The miracles of the New Testament involved instancy.
I would give anything for a miracle.
Notice, however, that many times the measure of faith comes from waiting inordinately long periods of time. Think about Abraham, the man of faith himself. Living to a ridiculously ripe age, he waited for a insanely long time until God even first appeared to him. I wonder if Abraham prayed to understand a God he could not know before? And then, when God promised a child of redemption to Abraham, he waited many, many years until it actually took place. It takes just a sentence, a small point in the Biblical narrative, to cover decades of Abraham's life -- decades of waiting and hoping and praying and questioning and maybe wanting to give up on God altogether. Yet perhaps the greatest spiritual lesson, perhaps the entire strength of Abraham's faith, lay in that length of time covered in only one verse -- not in the obtainment of the thing but the faith that waited an inordinately long time to obtain it. God did not wait to prove Abraham that he was human, impatient and had little faith: He waited because He knew Abraham had the faith to wait that long. And if you're waiting for a good thing God has promised -- like salvation or sanctification or anything else -- you can be assured that God does not give us things we cannot bear.
Anna waited her entire lifetime to see the Savior. Joseph suffered many, many years before he saw any redemption in his tale. God waited patiently for every one of His children to repent and believe in Him. The entire creation currently groans in anticipation of redemption. Many years passed before the flood actually took place and Noah saw with his own eyes that God wasn't kidding.
Insanely long periods of time. Insanely long.
Sometimes God does that because...because God's God and He can. He has a reason for it. An infinitely, insanely loving reason for our own good. Maybe because He wants to show us the strength of faith He's granted us or to show us how our little faith must grow to meet the challenge. He does not wait to destroy us, discourage us or batter us down with our own sense of faithlessness. Waiting doesn't mean we missed the bus half-a-dozen times already.
Waiting means the best is yet to come.
p.s. Friends, pray for us? Pray for patience and strength on my part. Pray for his salvation. The fun thing about the faith family is that we all get to journey together and unite faith with faith to wait for God's best in the end.