More Than These
- Thursday, November 27, 2008
I want to know. I have always wanted to know. Everything!!! But in my singleness I wanted most of all to know why love tarried. I was under the impression that given enough information, given the right answers I would be able to cope with my loneliness and rest peacefully in God’s arms.
The truth is I would not understand were He to explain all things to me. I would not grasp the mind of God should He open to me the gates of heaven. And I realized that it was a relationship I craved and not knowledge. What I wanted was for the sadness to end, for love to present herself. Knowing would never keep me warm. Knowing would not end the loneliness.
The desire to know was my way of controlling God. It was my way of harnessing the reckless nature of faith, of taming the mysterious God who causes the wind to blow. I won’t pretend that I don’t want to know why love shows me such disregard but the answer has ceased to be so important because I love Him and He loves me.
Our God loves us and desires to bless us and so we have hope. What we do not yet know is whether He plans to bless us with this particular gift—whether hope will be fulfilled and if so—when. That He desires to bless us, that He has already blessed us in myriad ways is unquestionable “for no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
It is simply no comfort to me to find formulas within Scripture that I can use to end this longing. It is no comfort to me to hear people, impressed with me, say, “Surely God will bless you.” Or some will say, “You deserve a wife.” I am aware of what I deserve and it is not a wife. I already have a promise in Christ that I will not get what I deserve. What I await is His gracious kindness.
In all cases and in every way it is God’s provision, God’s work through Christ. Therefore, I pursue righteousness because it is a worthwhile pursuit. Then, I trust God to bless in His time, in His way. I am comfortable saying, “I don’t know.” I have been to seminary and, while I learned a great deal, while I am not equipped to answer many questions, I am very comfortable saying that there are things I just do not know.
What I dare not do is sit and wait for the blessing of a wife. What I dare not do is believe that some slick formula or five-step process will work magic for me where God’s grace has not. What I dare not do is begin the process of bargaining or manipulation to make God answer me—as though He were deaf or callous to my needs.
We must pray. We must act. We must prepare. But we dare not lose sight of our place in the family. He is the Father and we are the children and as children—we know the Father would never give us a stone when we ask for bread (Matthew 7:9).
We are not in control of as much as we desire, but that is the issue. Who is in control and why do we desire to master the situation? This is what steals our peace. We are pushed off center by the fear that, for all our prayers and the prayers of those who love us we are no closer to our goal. We are unearthed by the simple fact that all our efforts have not yielded the promised result and we judge God for sleeping on the job.
I realize that He may have called me to Himself for more than a wife and family. I know that I came for more than a wife and family. I have a longing but I realize that He loves me and that, despite what I have and do not have, I love Him. I truly love Him. I have had to answer, far more than three times, the question He posed to Peter:
“Hudson, do you truly love me more than these?”
“You mean more than a wife and more than children? Do you mean more than cuddling and Eskimo kisses? Do you mean more than family campfires and sing-a-longs? Do you mean more than long walks hand in hand with my beloved wife and children? If you mean more than these and porch swing conversations, then yes.”
“Yes, Lord, You know that I love You more than these.”
Adam was told to tend the Garden and I was told, “Trust me.”
He asked again, “Hudson, do you truly love me?”
“You mean, Lord, more than sharing life with someone and learning to love her faults? Do you mean more than the joys of Christmas morning and giving gifts to my children? Lord, if you mean more than tuck-ins and bedside prayers, then yes.”
“Yes, Lord, You know that I love You more than these.”
Adam was told to name the animals and I was told, “Trust me.”
The third time He said to me, “Hudson, do you love me?” I was hurt because He asked me the third time, “Do you love me?”
“Lord, if you mean more than quiet moonlit evenings counting stars with the wife of my youth, then yes. If you mean more than birthdays parties and sleeping-in on Saturdays and breakfast in bed, then yes. If you mean more than making up after foolish words were said, yes. If you mean more than falling asleep in the arms of the woman I love, then yes—a thousand times yes.
“You know all things; You know that I love You.”
He said simply, “Trust me” (John 21:15-17).
No answer is as simple or reprehensible as the one we do not want to hear, the one we already know. It is my desire to master these years of longing that have tempted my sanity. Faith will have none of it. Faith demands my allegiance while much is still in the balance, while much of the puzzle is yet unfinished. Faith demands that I love and follow not because of what I have, hold, or see, but because of the guarantee. Faith calls me to trust. Faith is the currency of the kingdom of God.
Faith is not a force. It is not a tool by which we manipulate God into our own fulfillment. Faith is the confidence that allows us to walk through the valley of the shadow of death with stiff backs, firmly resolved to fear no evil.
There is a God who, even in the midst of our longing, calls us His own and loves us. The only answer that really matters is the question asked by the disciples, asked by Martha, “Lord, don’t you care?” (Mark 4:38, Luke 10:40). He cares.
Look! Even now if you ask Him He will rise, speak, and calm the storm. We are free to mourn to our loss but we must do so in trust. We must show that we love Him by letting faith blossom in hope until hope radiates to a lost and dying world.
Hudson Russell Davis was born on a small Island in the West Indies called Dominica, and this is only one reason he does not like cold weather and loves guava. He is a graduate of James Madison University with a B.A. in Graphic Design and earned a Masters in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Currently he is a Ph.D. candidate at Saint Louis University studying historical theology. Hudson has worked as a graphic artist and worship leader but expresses himself through poetry, prose, photography, and music. His activities are just about anything outdoors, but tennis is his current passion.
Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to Hudson at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don't hear back within a few days' time, please try again. Hudson would like to respond to all reader feedback.
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