On December 5th I thought about writing something relating to 1 Corinthians 2:9 but it has been a whirlwind since then and I didn’t. One of my friends from church reminded me to read it after I thanked her for a much needed hug at the end of a mid-week service. It was just one of those nights, days, whatever where I felt completely incomplete. Where you walk through the doors to church, or into the elevator to work, or through the streets overflowing with tired commuting bodies and you feel completely weightless but also weighed down. What I mean by that is that you can almost feel yourself floating above everything, unable to cope with the chaos below and the days you are in, but yet you feel the reminder of that painful heaviness in your chest that grounds you. Am I the only one in this season?
Anyway it was just one of those nights. I was tired, I was weighed down, and honestly I was just pissed. It was a long day at work, I almost missed this night, and by the time I got there–it was late. I was bracing myself to have to stand even though I hadn’t eaten dinner and felt totally depleted. I was bracing myself for what I suspected to be another disappointment. I had invited my mom to come in and join me and she was already waiting for me to come get her from Port Authority and I was in RARE form. If there was the possibility that I could actually breathe fire that night, I think I could have. It was not a good look and yet, I couldn’t contain it. I was just exhausted from an awful day of work, and disappointed that what should have been a light in another dark work week was going to be ruined.
On top of it the foyer to the service was brimming with the most irritating, ill-timed…..dare I say happiness? Christmas cheer? I’m normally not this bitter but you almost had to laugh at the irony of my terribly ugly mood in the midst of laughter and caroling. Long story short, somehow I got preferential treatment or my mom complained about her aching knee loud enough for someone passing by to hear but we were led to a special elevator in the building where the event was to be held and we got great great seats. So all of my complaining and bleep worthy behavior and here I was in a seat like nothing was wrong. Okay God. I guess I can shut up now.
By the end of the service I felt better, the message was great, the worship was great, everything was great and yet I still felt the same mostly broken self I walked in as. I was still mad. I was still annoyed that I needed to go home tired, and wake up tired, and go to a job where I know I am unhappy and overworked and unappreciated. I felt grateful and ungrateful all at the same time. I was tired of feeling so low, tired of feeling lost, tired of hearing about how great things are happening in the church and for people, and yet not for me. When would it be my time? So in the midst of waiting for the elevator back down I see my friend in the crowd and probably gave a half smile or a barely-wave and she scoops me into this hug. The kind of hug where I guess you need one but you don’t want one. When I am in this mood I just want to fold into myself, to just sneak into the elevator and haul ass home. Certainly not to be hugged publicly when I’m in a totally nasty mood. And yet I guess she sensed it was needed. I was just tired. I probably looked like hell. I probably talked and explained my mood in a totally defeated way and she hugged me longer than comfortable. And yet the tick, tick, tick, of time past what was comfortable, past that threshold and I had to hold myself together. I almost completely lost it. Eyes were brimming, lip was quivering… I’m tired of being THAT girl. The one who is defeated, the one who “must be strong or God wouldn’t be trusting me with this”, etc etc etc. I’m tired of enduring.
The next day I thanked her for her hug and she told me to read 1 Corinthians 2:9 and that “God has something for you, you just can’t see it yet”. To remind you and me both here is what the verse before and after it says:
We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text:
No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love him.
But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.
Basically no one can comprehend the vast possibilities God has in store for his children. I cannot dream up how good the plans are that Jesus has typed up for me specifically. While I was just an unformed blob with no brain, lungs, or other organs he was already “nesting” waiting for me. He was already creating a place for me within a time I had not entered and yet—I find myself doubting that I believe that some days. God do you know me at all? Don’t you know I am not happy here? Don’t you know I feel lost there? Don’t you know I feel alone? Unloved? Untalented? Lacking? Forgotten? And yet you remind yourself that the plans He has for you are so unbelievable that no one has heard, imagined, touched, or experienced anything exactly like it. Nothing is off limits from the kind of surprises and blessings God is arranging for those who love him. Even a seat in a venue, that I wasn’t early enough to get. Why is it so hard to believe it.
I think sometimes I get so caught up in my own unhappiness in what I do not have that I forget the story isn’t over. Jesus wants and will give me the things he promised. So why is it so hard for me to rest in that? Why do I doubt that He will give me those things just because they aren’t here yet. I remember in the Bible when Sara laughs in Genesis 18 when she is told that she will have a son. Even though it wasn’t a loud mocking laugh, she laughed to herself in doubt about it happening. Even God is saddened by this in verses 13-16 “Why is she laughing…is anything too hard for God?”. Like hey Abraham why doesn’t she believe me? Why doesn’t she trust me? And you know what? The thing that really kills me lately about this verse is that THIS. IS. ME. This is my attitude. I am the one laughing.
I just pray that I learn not to allow all of the things that have gone wrong and continue to go wrong totally eclipse the truth which is that this is not over. I might be blind to the blessing now, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t coming. That doesn’t mean that my disbelieving Sarah laughter will not be replaced by true joyful laughter when His promise does finally come true in a tangible way.