Thursday, May 3, 2012

Patience in a Vacuum

 Hope that is seen is no hope at all. 
Who hopes for what they already have?  
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, 
we wait for it patiently. In the same way, 
the Spirit helps us in our weakness. 
We do not know what we ought to pray for
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us 
through wordless groans.  
And He Who Searches Our Hearts 
knows the mind of the Spirit, 
because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people 
in accordance with the will of God.  
And we know that in all things God works 
for the good of those who love him, 
who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:24-28

The need for patience is so much easier for me to see in others than myself. My newlywed co-workers are in a rush to buy houses and have babies. Just wait, establish your marriage first! Then let God make it fruitful in whatever way He sees fit. To those who are still single: God is calling you to an intimate relationship with Him. He is jealous of your distractions. 

But I see the log in my own eye, now, as well.

We all want something we don't yet have, but we name it: once I have this and that and those, I will be happy. I will find God when my relationship with that person is repaired. When this physical need is met. When my financial struggle is over. *Insert your own burden here* The older I get, the more I'm starting to realize: life never falls perfectly into place. But when our mindset is in the right place (hope in God and in nothing else), that doesn't matter so much.

I don't know what I'm supposed to be praying for right now. It's a struggle. I'm learning to let go (and sometimes failing spectacularly) but I can only hope that I'm strengthening my prayer muscles. I'm wrestling with the fact that even when I let go, I'm sometimes doing it in an immature way. I want to prove to God that I'm "all in" so I surrender, but I expect an immediate reward. My eyes are seeing my heart's vanity, and it is ugly.

Ever since we moved here, I've been somewhat depressed about this "holding pattern" we're in. Everything has felt futile, like wasted time. But oh, to have those days back and use them wisely! To seek first the kingdom of God, instead of finding it last when all other roads to "happiness" and "fulfillment" have failed me.

Instead, I thank God that it's now instead of never. He has waited patiently (so patiently) for me. In return, I realize that this void is not a vacuum at all (Psalm 62: 1-2). In fact, it's the beautiful space God has been holding open for me despite my struggles to fill it with temporal things. I am but a cracked, ugly, worthless jar of clay and God wants to fill me with beauty (2 Corinthians 4:7)? He's been refusing fulfillment from any other source not to frustrate me, but to truly fulfill me, and to truly, undoubtedly, glorify Him.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. 

God is saying, the world can't touch this part of you, and I promise that's actually a good thing. I wanted you to save it for me. And now this tiny spot in your heart can grow and fill the space that rightfully belongs to me. I want to fill your vessel with living water, so you will never be so thirsty again.

How wonderful is it to realize that God does know what my future holds? And it's a far better future than I could have fathomed. This vacuum is not a vacuum, but (if I may be so cliche) a God-shaped hole in my heart. And I need to wait patiently for him to fill it properly in His sweet time so that I can enjoy the life He has planned for me, because it's sure to be far better than the life I've tried to build for myself.

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord. (And patience begets strength begets patience begets strength... all from God.)


  1. So well said. I am praying for many of the same things right now and reading them coming from someone else helps to sort it all out. Patience is such a great thing, but so hard to find!

    1. Thank you! Patience is certainly hard to find. And I think that the minute I TRY to "find" it, it has already eluded me. I'm trying to hard to wait for it this time (hence the lyrics to "Everlasting God" running through my head). Writing things out tends to help me... I'm thankful that my thoughts are coming across as coherent to someone!

  2. Even though I am younger, I can still understand and comprehend what you are saying. I am waiting to see what God has planned for me as I get older. I guess we all are no matter what age. I know patience will come to you because you are a wonderful person. I guess God knows you can handle all of this. I am always praying for you!

    1. Libby, you're so sweet to read and comment. I think this is definitely applicable to you, especially as you start to choose a high school and college, and what you want to do with this one wild and precious life! You're so right that at any age, we're all still waiting to see what makes our life meaningful.

  3. beautiful Therese... You dont need a mentor, you are mine!

    1. I'm flattered, but so unqualified to be a mentor. If anything, I guess you can learn from my mistakes :o)