I stumbled upon this piece tonight, and it really hit me because it’s really real.
Unfulfilled desire or longing is a special hell of its own.
At first it may start off as rather asinine and small and bearable and meetable. It is the wait that often swallows people.
It’s the not knowing what will happen or if it will ever happen that challenges people’s faith and launches many into a spiritual crisis.
And because we don’t like walking around with need on our sleeves because vulnerability is… well… vulnerable and makes us feel exposed, we hide it very well. We poke fun at our singleness, we confront our infertility with sarcasm, we pretend that we are okay either way with however the Lord chooses to answer (or not answer) our prayers.
After all, it is so much easier to deny deeply wanting something than to admit that you want something because the admission itself denotes vulnerability and reveals our humanity and our limitations or failures.
As I was telling a friend on the phone the other day, if I were to be quite honest (which is what this blog is all about) part of the reason why I am still mad at God and why He and I are still not on talking terms is because I’m still single.
I am mad at God for many things, but being single is one of them.
It goes beyond and it’s not simply a function of “I want something and God won’t give it to me.”
At its heart is the painful difficulty in reconciling a good, good Father, a benevolent God, a giving God, with (an albeit) perceived lack in one’s life.
Unmet longing — whatever it is — whether love, a baby, companionship, financial stability, food, sex, water — after a while it becomes painful. Pain is, arguably suffering.
How do you love a God who allows suffering, who says that He is with you in the suffering, and who allegedly suffers along with you, but does not stop it?
The Word itself says that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” So how do you serve a God who knows this and yet still defers hope?
As a single person, you don’t only deal with the longing itself, but you deal with its exacerbation — the wedding invites, the baby showers, the attention from the wrong people, the incessant questioning, the self-questioning, the uncertainty, the discouragement, the impossibility…
How then do you worship a God who lets hard things get harder? What good is God if He does not meet me in my pain, if He does not make it all better?
If there is any one problem in my life where I will need the most heavenly aid, it’s getting and staying married. With every other area of life I need Jesus, but I need Jesus the most in my love life. Why? Because me, as a broken person, and it involves other broken people. It seems random, and unpredictable, and tricky and it involves things I can’t control. I can send out job applications and I will eventually get a job, but I can’t make anyone love me.
What then does one do when God shows up in every other area of one’s life except this one, the one that presents the most challenges, the one that matters the most? What does one do with a God who does not help me when and where I need Him the most?
What does one do when God shows up in every other area of one’s life except this one? What does one do with a God who gives everything but?
Those are the questions that make me wonder if this is a God worth serving, and if He is as loving as He makes Himself out to be.
I have learned that pain can do one of two things — it can drive you away from the Father, as it has for many people, or it can push you to the Father, as has reluctantly been the case for me.
I have learned that it does not help to ignore or deny or bury any strong emotion — whether anger, fear, sadness, loneliness, bitterness whatever. What I do is I sit with the pain, I cry, I let it bring me to my knees, I present it (often, regrettably, repeatedly) before the Father, I get up and I keep moving. Being vulnerable keeps me authentic, and authenticity, even and especially in the midst of pain, is, more often than not, relationship-building. I remind myself that there is no shame in hurting. Hurting is part of my humanity. Part of life, however, is learning how to live with unmet desires, how to live with pain and hurt, and yet still live. Winston Churchill once said, “If you are going through hell, keep going.” Not that being single is hell, but you get the point. lol. It is not hell, but it is still hard. So I put one foot in front of the other, and, like Jacob after he wrestled with God, I painstakingly learn how to walk with a limp.
Anyways, read Vaneetha’s blog post. 🙂 She also has such an amazing life journey which you should read on her “About” page.
“We all have longings. Crying out to God to fulfill them, or change them, or give us the strength to endure them, does deep work in our lives.”