Last week I promised I was going to share my journey of waiting, hoping against hope and trusting against all odds. I am an adult, but there is a little girl still very much alive inside me who believes in fairy tales, dreams and has hope anchored in a Big God who loves me. I can’t give up what I believe is from God and I don’t want you to either. It was recommended that I not share and self-disclose, but good grief, someone has to get honest. How can anyone become encouraged or gain hope if we remain in a glass bubble rather than have an exchange of authentic sharing?
My journey of waiting and believing God for those deep places of my heart to become fulfilled is and has not been a one, two or three-year process. It is not nor has been a journey of having lots of fun and activities while waiting. Rather my journey has been a process, a deep and often times a journey full of tears, wrestling, struggling to hear, to know, to see but often instead of sight, I received silence.
Of course in the process you are not aware anyone else feels the same way you do and it can cause one to feel or believe you are all alone. Elijah cried out and said, ” I am the only one of the LORD’s prophets left” (1 Kings 18:22, 19:10)(NIV) Actually there were hundreds of prophets left! Elijah goes on talking to the Lord reminding God how faithful he had been and he began to recount all that he had done. Aren’t we like that? I certainly have been like that. I take inventory of everyone else around me and remind God as if He were impressed!
Of course it appeared as if everyone else around was walking in destiny without any effort on their part. This was not truth, but I had no way of knowing because no one was sharing. The appearances just drilled the pain further into my heart causing me to clam up my feelings. On the outside, I still extroverted, but closed off my heart to most. They were not safe and I was tired of the religious clichés of “if God has this, then it would have happened…. Perhaps you are not to have this… what sin is in your life blocking this? Or better yet, maybe you haven’t tithed enough! ” I heard all the “trite answers” and none of them aligned with a Father who gave me Bubble gum at work, ice cream at a store, or protected me on a walk in the park. But when you are tired and in the middle of a journey, we all can become just whipped in the process.
What do you do when all you hear and see is silence? How do you deal with your situation, your process, when it does not line up with others who believe like you? The difference being that their process appears to be quick and yours has been like the “Energizer bunny”, never-ending, just going and going and going. What I did not know then, but since have discovered through a 21 year process and counting, is that there was an interior process of my heart where God was fashioning my heart in order for its preparation to enjoy what He had always planned. Like the children of Israel who were led on a longer journey, rather than shorter to the Promised Land. The Bible says that if they had not taken the longer route they would have given up. “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, ‘If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.'” Exodus 13:17 NIV.
God did not create us to fail nor has he fashioned a journey that takes longer to be cruel. It took years to learn it was a heart of love that led me around the mountain rather than up the mountain, through the desert rather than along the ocean. He knew exactly what Rita needed and still needs to prepare, to create in her a clean and pure heart so she may rest in the Father’s care, trusting as she walks, that there is a purpose in each step handcrafted for her. In a world in which we give away and have lost the art of true intimacy, it is a rare and precious gem to have something that is purely our own. My journey is mine. Yours is yours. My story is different. Yours is different, but the principles are timeless. I trust as I begin to share the deep chambers of my heart that you will find yourself in this story. That you will discover, along with me that what was once interpreted as silence, were moments I did not hear His voice, but began to recognize His heartbeat because He was holding me close.
I stood on promises. I believed in dreams He whispered to me in the quiet places yet none had come to pass. These dreams were the vision of hope that the Bible speaks of giving hope and a future (Jer. 29:11) BUT my experience was more of an illusion, drawing, wooing me into a future I could not seem to enter. In this time I asked more questions than ever had answers but the questions stripped away lies that held my soul hostage. Everything felt like a mirage. I needed a miracle!
In my journey, there was not one or two people who opened doors for me. I did not have a mother or father to lean on, nor did most people in my life have any understanding into my journey. It was a season where friends were scattered, and even if people had been there, they could not do it for me or with me. It was a journey I had to travel alone. I learned although alone, I was not lonely. It was in this process, which revealed the secrets of my heart, where in the silence, what felt like darkness, a loving Father would reveal intimate truths of Himself. This is where He gently and on time would take me by His hand and together I would learn to walk in the cool of the day, taking the long road through winding paths seemingly leading nowhere.
His ways were not my own, but had been designed, fashioned and orchestrated by the One who knew me best. In the midst of the silence, I learned to rest by still waters, being refreshed and restored. There were moments I enjoyed only smelling the fragrances of spring flowers by the side of the road, taking long cuts, never short ones through meadows of tall grass. It was when I finally could sit by the water’s edge, fearless of anything around me, resting in the beauty and being ok without answers that led me into the place of discovery where at last I became free. I had finally come to a place where I found peace and satisfaction in the silence. It was in this quiet stillness that my eyes became opened to the Light that was always there, always speaking.