Six twenty dollar bills fell out of a card I opened from a friend. The sentiment included a wish for H and me to go out to dinner. In our waiting season to London, dinner dates have become a rarity because electricity, water and gas, of course.
We were going to use the generous gift to celebrate a breakthrough moment – the sale of our house, a donation allowing us to breathe a bit deeper about our daughter’s car problem, splurge when we finally hold visa’s in our hands. You get the picture.
But in transition, breakthroughs are sparse and require heaps of suffering. Instead of allowing circumstances to dictate joy, we made reservations.
I washed my hair, used red lip liner and wore high heels with a new pair of black slacks. The sales tag hanging oddly out of place in the midst of my closet provided a realization about how much life has changed for us. I wouldn’t do that now. Actually forget about a pair of pants I bought on clearance last summer.
At a table in a dimly lit restaurant thrumming with conversation, H sat across from me donning his first hair cut in months. And I thought about how cutting all that long hair off was like excising a mountain he’s been carrying without help. His eyes were sparkly again; his manner, free and unfettered.
This waiting season, it’s teaching us how to look at each other. It’s like we’ve been wearing our sweaters inside out and don’t even notice the tags sticking out. We don’t have energy for pants with zippers. Or people to tell us cilantro is stuck in our teeth.
We’re calling each other out like our future depends on the truth. And because that word oblivious, it scares us into surrender.
H leaned over a candle flickering in square glass and called me stubborn with quiet conviction. We weren’t angry or emotional but I swallowed the lump in my throat and refused tears that have become way too familiar.
I didn’t even see how my response so clearly illustrates how I am stubborn until a few days later.
At the restaurant, before the filet and blue cheese mashed potatoes, we talked about how I don’t like this side of God’s character we’re experiencing. Job’s God, I don’t really like that one. Reading about Him in the book of Job is fine though.
How do you navigate the same places, the same people, the same God you’ve always talked to when everything is different?
I like the instructive, safe God who helps me find meaning in mundane moments. I like the God who doesn’t meddle too much by asking me to do things that are uncomfortable. The God who offers enough challenge that I’ll cling to Him but not so tightly that he’ll ask me to sacrifice anything.
Lately, it’s as if I’ve been wrestling with God like Jacob and asking, “Please tell me your name. You aren’t familiar.”
And after a lifetime of intimate encounter in friendship, Jesus rightly asks me, “Why do you ask my name?”
Maybe you’re waiting for the right moment to enjoy a candlelight dinner, deep conversation with someone who looks you in the eyes and listens; waiting for a word that changes you on the inside when you hear it spoken.
Don’t let your restless indignation about being stuck instead of moving forward keep you from living in the moment. Enticed by tomorrow we can miss how God is redefining purpose, perspective and plans today and for the next 24 hours.
Unyielding determination to see how God is resolute, tenacious and iron-willed about fulfilling his purposes, that is what H meant when he called me stubborn.
God isn’t safe; He is stubborn about fulfilling His purposes within you. Sometimes that includes suffering. That is the side of Jesus I’m discovering and learning to accept as we wait.
How stubborn are you?