I asked a co-worker today if there was anything I could pray for him about this coming week.
He looked at me for a moment, then dropped his eyes to his phone, shook his head almost imperceptibly, and mumbled words no doubt borne from decades of unremitting disappointment: “There’s nothing anyone can do.”
Lord knows those words have tried to gnaw their way into my soul. Too often, I’ve let them.
But something about hearing them from outside my head, from another’s lips, lit a fire in me. That can be a huge blessing.
I do not know why some people are asked to walk this earth without basic love, without functioning bodies, without full bellies.
But I know my God is the God of mid-life crises – and all-life crises. Jesus healed ailments of twelve (Luke 8), eighteen (Luke 13), and thirty-eight years (John 5). He healed people blind and lame from birth. Imagine waiting for your answer that long. Most of us would go about our business in that time, give up, cut our losses, buy the wheelchair and accessible house and call it final. Or maybe walk away from God entirely.
Not us. I pray it is not us.
Sometimes we need to get angry at our disappointment. We need to stand straight, face the letdown, gird ourselves, and slap back. We need to claim and declare that the Lord is faithful.
Not claim and declare the outcome we want – claim and declare the character of the one we’re beseeching. They’re different things. The first leaves room for, “I am dependent on this answer for my well-being and might shelve God in weariness if it doesn’t come.” The second says, “I love God.”
At some point, the answer is irrelevant. What matters is what we believe.
Sure, we struggle to be satisfied with that, especially when the tragedy actively burns your soul on a daily basis. I will admit this: which statement gives the better chance of eliciting the miracle from God? I’d say the latter. It loves the giver rather than the gift. But it’s a bad question to ask, really. It invites a mercenary, transactional attitude.
At some point, like William Wallace rallying the Scots, we have to admit that the stand matters more than the result. If you run, throw in the towel, or shelve your faith, how will you look back on that decision for the rest of your life?
I’ve watched enough Seahawks games to know that leaving before the fourth quarter is a good way to miss out on the finest triumphs. I want to stand. I want to shout into the howling dark that God is coming for it, treat it like the glass-chinned bully it is. I want him to have my best love, one that’s given even when hope is deferred. It’s the purest type, the most sincere type, the most Christlike type.
So I will snarl at the lies this week. May God give me breath. And I will pray for my co-worker, that God might surprise him.
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