Hello friends, can I speak to you as friends? Because today I am not sure if I know how to write an article or how to form an essay. I can only speak – and feel I am being invited to speak to you directly. So I imagine myself sitting with you – you are across from me at this table in the library. I with my chai tea. You with your… what do you like to drink? Let’s chat.
God has revealed something to me that I have not wanted to face: my own unwillingness to hope. My husband and I recently joined a marriage group at our church that is unearthing issues in our marriage that I have chosen to stuff down and ignore.
This includes my willingness to ignore my sin. Willingness to ignore my husband’s sin. Willingness to put on a mask and pretend that everything is peachy keen while there are things within us that could potentially erode our relationship.
These things I ignore scare me. And they frustrate me. Some of these things we have been working on for years and I think we are tired of having the same conversations over and over again.
What our marriage group is revealing is that we are not alone. We are not the only ones with recurring problems. Habitual sins. Selfishness. With great relief we laugh with one another and shake our heads at ourselves for falling into patterns and behaviors we once thought we would never succumb to. The types of things I once saw in the movies and thought that will never be me! Only to realize I have that capacity for that behavior and then some.
Now God asks me, “Will you hope?”
Will I face these problems with apathy and resignation? Or hope? Will I believe that he can work a miracle in me? Or will I just give up?
Because sometimes apathy feels easier. If I don’t let myself feel how he has hurt me, if I don’t let myself see how I have hurt him, then maybe we can coast through this. But our group has let me see the cost of the coasting and I don’t want to pay it.
Last week I read Psalm 130 and these words stood out:
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning. (Psalm 130:5-6)
From these verses, it strikes me that hope is not a wish or a fancy, but hope is expectant waiting for God to come through.
The psalmist states his whole being waits for the Lord as the watchmen who have been guarding a city all night long wait knowing that their shift will end. The sun will rise. The city will wake. The new day will come. After all, it came yesterday, the day before that, the day before that, the day before that… it will come again.
I find myself wondering, Can I be on such high alert and expectantly wait for God’s healing in our marriage? Can I be the watchwoman 😉 waiting for the Lord’s arrival?
More than watchmen wait for the morning?
The psalmist commands:
Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins. (Ps 130:7-8)
We are not to place our hope in a god who is unseeing, unloving, unfaithful, but in the God who is as consistent as the rising sun which greets us every day. His love is unfailing. And his work is to redeem.
Tim and I have committed to keep showing up. To keep bringing the hard truth into the light. And I have committed to watch for God’s redemptive healing. At times it is a scary, vulnerable place to be. But in the waiting I see the dawn breaking. The first signs of the sun are beginning to rise. Redemption is coming. I look forward to sharing that full story with you someday.
Something that hope does is allow us to acknowledge that while not all things are perfect, not all things are bad either. Hope helps me see the blessings, the silver linings, the happiness of day to day. Apathy doesn’t feel good or bad, it just is. Despair erodes all. I run the risk at merely existing if I do not hope.
And I am not hoping in nothing, but in Something – Someone much bigger than myself.
Next week, Tim and I get to take a few days away. We will celebrate the marriage we have. After all, no one makes me laugh like him. No one gets to see my silly side like he does. No one sees my tears or feels my fears as much as he does. And no one could ever partner in parenting as he does. Nope. No one.
I just hope I can be the same for him.
And friends, we are celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary at the end of the month! (oh my word, in just a couple of days we will have been together for 16 years! How can that be?)
I can’t imagine life any other way. I am grateful for him.
What are you hoping for? What in your life needs redemption? How can I pray for you?