26 July 2008

Now, not yet

I had a professor in seminary who talked often about the "now, not yet" promises and prophecies in scripture. It seems that God has made promises to us in his Word, many which we can already see how they have been manifested in our current reality, and yet many others that have not been fulfilled yet. For instance, God has made me righteous through what Jesus did on the cross. However, He is still in the process of making me righteous as I believe and obey and He transforms me with the washing of the water of the Word. So, there's an aspect that has already happened - the "Now" and then there is the part that is still happening, the "Not yet." It's not exactly rocket science I suppose. However, I've spent much of the past few days thinking about my life's story and feeling a bit discontent as I wade in the shores of the "now, not yet." I'm frustrated. I feel stuck in this inbetween. I feel like I'm loitering. It's like I can't get my brain to rest as I look at scripture and try to believe it by faith and yet when I look at my current circumstances or even looking back to what God has and hasn't done in the past, it's sometimes really hard to see how it's actually been true. I believe God's Word. I have chosen to accept it's truth and claim and authority on my life. I know by now that just because something doesn't feel true to me, doesn't mean that it isn't true. I know His Word is true even when I can't feel. But, you see, this is all what I know, but not what I feel. My heart just feels a mess with all this sometimes. I stare at the words on a page in the Bible and say to myself, "Okay, this is truth." But then my heart says, "But God, that's not true." This feeling of schizophrenia is unsettling. For instance, Psalm 145 says that God satisfies the desire of every living thing. Then why do I still long for what I don't have? Why don't I feel satisfied? Why am I still hungry? I just don't get it.

And I know God keeps telling me to trust Him. How on earth do I do that? I know He is faithful. I know He is good. I have seen his faithfulness in my life. I have seen his incredible goodness. I don't want to ignore all these places in scripture, all these things I've understood as promises and yet haven't come to pass. I want to be real in my faith. I want to be authentic in what I say I believe. I really just want Him to bring fulfillment, to satisfy, to provide, to show Himself incredible. I really want Him to answer some long awaited prayers. I'm tired of feeling stuck and not seeing Him come through for me in some ways I really want Him to. I know, I know that I don't have any right to demand anything of Him. I know He has done enough. I know He is enough. I know I shouldn't ask Him to prove Himself to me. I know that I should trust, that I should be satisfied in Him, I know that He should be all that I delight in. But what on earth am I supposed to do when I don't feel like He is enough. When I still want a man to love me one day. When I'm trying really hard to trust and yet my heart is so confused. When I don't know which path to take. When His Word doesn't look true. I try to tell myself that it's not about my feelings, that I choose to believe by faith, not by how I feel. But, really, come on now, how am I supposed to separate my heart from my head? Don't you feel like this journey of following Christ demands all of you? Even the demons believe. I don't just want to mentally assent to believing that He satisfies me. I want to actually be satisfied in all of me - heart, soul, mind and strength. I want my whole self to trust Him. I don't want my heart to feel squeezed when something happens differently than I wanted it to. I don't want to feel jealous. I learned today from two places in scripture that covetousness is really idolatry. Yuck. I don't want to covet. And I for sure don't want be in idolatry, to want, need, worship anything other than Him. But that's what I'm doing when I feel jealous. When I am sad when someone else has what I think I want. But, I don't know how not to feel jealous, ya know. How do you stop something that isn't an action? How do I tell my heart and my head to obey and stop thinking and feeling a certain way? Actually, I do tell them lots of times, but they don't seem to listen to me. And see, then again, I know that it's only by God's Spirit that I can be whole and righteous and that it's only in his power that I am free from sin. But so, what is taking Him so long? Why won't He make my heart and head line up already. Why does He keep me in the "not yet"? I so wan the now. And so even now I say to myself, "Because it wouldn't take much trust if you didn't have to learn to wait." Which I know is true. But honestly, that can be so frustrating.

I feel like Mary in John chapter 20 who is standing there talking to Jesus after He has risen from the dead and yet she is grieving and weeping because she doesn't know it's Him. She is staring the Truth in the face and yet she can't even see it. Don't you think that's crazy? She's sad for no reason. At least not for a true reason. What she thinks is true isn't. She thinks that someone has taken his body from the tomb and she doesn't know where they have put Him. Jesus isn't where she thinks He's supposed to be. Jesus doesn't look like what she thinks He is supposed to look like. And yet she even asks Jesus who she thinks is the gardener to tell her where they have put him. I know too well that I am often like Mary. I know that I can see and believe things through my limited skewed perspective and miss the truth that is staring me in the face. Perhaps God is speaking to me and yet I just don't know it's Him yet. I guess Mary didn't believe (or perhaps just didn't understand) Jesus when He told them that He was the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). And I guess I'm not believing what God has said. I'm not really believing that his Word is true. I am choosing to believe what things look like through my earthly finite lenses. I choose to believe what my eyes can see instead of what faith will let me see. Mary finally gets it, finally sees Jesus for who He is when He says her name. He says, "Mary!" and she knows it's her master. She recognizes this man that she has known. She has had relationship with Him and in that really cool moment, He reveals his glorified self to her when He calls her name. He knows her too. He has had relationship with her. It's that relationship, that intimacy, that brings the revelation of truth. She sees Truth for who He is. She couldn't see it before, but now she does. He says her name. He knows her. She knows Him. Oh, I'm so thankful that I can know Jesus. And not only that, but I do know Jesus. And more importantly to me today is that I am also fully known by Him. He knows me. He knows my name. He knows my mixed up head. He knows my foolish heart. He knows my blind eyes. He knows my skewed perspective. He knows that I trust Him and don't at the same time. He knows my frustration. He knows my puny faith. He knows my questions. He knows my insecurities. He knows my heart. Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). He knows me. He knows you. He knows, He knows, He knows. And He reveals truth. He reveals Himself. His word is true. Every word. He has satisfied me, He is in the process of satisfying me. He is making me hungry for Himself when other things don't fill me up. I may be stuck in the "now, not yet" but He is the Lord. He will do it. I believe. And yet, Oh God, help my unbelief.


Kasey Joy said...

what a beautiful cry of the heart!

know that you're not alone.

this road is not easy, and I'm glad to share it with a friend like you who is real and authentic and struggling to be who He has called you to be!

love you!

Amy said...

Thanks again for being real with all of us, friends and strangers too (like me).

It is just too bad i don't know you personally or live in h-town because I would totally like to have coffee and talk about our Lord together =) I used to live there as a single girl and also worked in youth ministry...also my mom had breast cancer, too. I think that's why I keep reading your blog...we have some things in common.

I too am in a place where I would not choose to be and I don't understand anything about it.

I have found much comfort and perspective lately in reading Hind's Feet on High Places...I definitely recommend it.

One thing I know--the troubles of this world make me long for heaven so much....and I must admit when I'm surrounded by happy blessings I quickly (and sadly) lose sight of eternity.

May our Lord fulfill your heart's desire. I am praying for you.

annaelyse said...

hi. i don't even know how i stumbled upon your site, but thanks for being brave enough to write and utter and share the words that i've haven't been able to recently. how they blessed me!!

rindy said...

Beccacim! I just love you so much. When are you getting your butt over here for another visit???

Anonymous said...

Wow, I feel like you just wrote my heart. I quickly forget that He knows me better than I know myself and what an awesome comfort that is. Thanks for sharing and encouraging me today.