When I say a long time, I mean days and weeks and months and years.
I’ve asked God for it over and over again.
In my opinion, what I’ve been asking God for is so perfectly good and legitimate and necessary that, if I were God, I would have granted me this a long time ago. I mean, I couldn’t imagine saying “no.” At this point, “not yet” doesn’t even seem reasonable.
Over the years, while I’ve been praying and waiting, I’ve been straining my eyes to see God’s answer appear on the horizon. Many times I thought I recognized the shape of my long-awaited answer just a short distance ahead. I’ve asked myself, “Is this it? Could this be? Is God about to say, ‘Yes.’?”
Some time ago I began describing the experience of hope turning into disappointment as seeing a mirage. I think I see something. Then it disappears. Nothing there.
Recently, someone gave me a scrap of paper with some Scripture verses scrawled on it, saying It was a message from God for me.
In the passage, Jeremiah is complaining to God, questioning His reliability. Will God really help Jeremiah? I read the text in a few translations. The prophet asks God if He will be to Jeremiah a “deceitful brook,” an “unreliable spring,” a “deceptive stream.” I’m starting to feel some conviction.
Then I read Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase in The Message:
You’re nothing, God, but a mirage,
a lovely oasis in the distance—and then nothing!
Thinking back on my last experience of disappointment, I can hear the enemy whispering his lying suggestion, “Another mirage.” And I can hear myself agreeing with the lie, “Yeah, another mirage.”
For the first time I saw right through my mirage language to God Himself. I realized that I had been nursing a spirit of complaint against God. I had been looking at Him with squinty-eyed suspicion. “Can I really rely on You for the help I need, or are You just a mirage?”
Now that the lie has been exposed, I’m asking God to help me discover what’s underneath. I’ll need Him to help me trace the pain all the way back to the wound that gave birth to that lie. And I’ll need Him to heal that wound.
And He will.
Because that’s the kind of God He is–reliable, trustworthy, faithful. Jeremiah saw–and I will see–that God is the Stream whose waters never fail.