I wonder what it's like to be adrift at sea for months and then to see land.

I wonder what it's like to stumble through a desert, dry and hot, and then to find water.

I wonder what it's like to know hunger, true hunger, and to be given food to eat.

Whatever the sensation, it is understood through experience not observation.

It is here that those who know a "longing like starvation" find themselves—when the expected arrives. Those thirsty souls can be seen running to the oasis, bucket in hand, and dreams in tow.

It is possible that the land is more solid once we have been adrift at sea for months, but more likely that we have gained renewed appreciation for the earth beneath our feet. Perhaps water tastes sweeter when we have been desiccated, but it is more likely that we gain a deeper appreciation for what was once so scarce. And if food is not more flavorful, it is certainly taken with a new appreciation.

When the waiting is over and the blessing for which you held your breath arrives, rejoice! Take what is yours, the best of what you have, and offer it to the Lord as thanks. This is the proper response to blessing. This is the proper response to grace. 

While it may be a long and longer wait, while the oasis may be a mirage, while tomorrow may bring the same desolation that haunted your today, it may also bring the rain needed to soothe your parched heart.

There is the delicate balance between hope and practicality, but we must not end in pessimism. There is the reality of delay, and that calls for hope. There is the practical difficulty of finding someone to marry, and then there is the surprising awakening to a dream—when the expected arrives.

When the expected arrives, we dare not forget the disciplines that saw us through the desert. We dare not forget he who gave us bread and brought water from the rock while this person was only a dream in our lying down. Do not forget who guarded our waking and our lying down.

We dare not exchange confidence in the Blesser for trust in the blessing. The blessing is, after all, only a product and part of the Giver's love. Our charge, as well as our difficulty, is to remember this truth. Our charge, as well as our difficulty, is to remember in our time of plenty the One who walked with us in our time of need. This is critical lest we forget our continual need for "our daily bread"—once the expected arrives.

If and when the expected arrives, our duty—even as we enjoy the fruit of God's grace—is to "remember [our] Creator in the days of [our] youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when [we] will say, "I find no pleasure in them" (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Before the dreams and fantasies we have layered atop the ideal of marriage are awakened by the presence of a real person, we must look deeper.

When the expected arrives and the joy of discovery swells our hearts to bursting, we must consider ourselves to be as the one leper—not the nine.

You see there were ten lepers healed in Luke 17. They were all healed while on their way to the priest, but only one leper returned, threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him.  Where were the other nine? I assume they were out enjoying their newfound health. It seems that only one understood the meritless nature of grace, so only one took time to give thanks. I supposed they had all dreamt of being healed, but only one allowed the reality to interrupt his dream.

If the expected arrives and does nothing more than draw us away from our first love, the expected is a curse not a blessing. If the expected arrives and does nothing more than dampen our faith, the expected is a curse not a blessing. No matter how pretty the package or exciting the story, there is no blessing in a relationship that does not draw us closer to our Lord and Savior.