Seeing Through the Mirage

MIRAGEOK, there’s something that I’ve deeply desired for a long time.

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.’?”

No.

Disappointment. Again.

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!

Ouch!

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.

14 thoughts on “Seeing Through the Mirage

  1. God heals the Lie … and He does it with His Truth!
    And I so understand how our sneaky enemy weaves just enough truth into a lie that we accept it, believe it, hold on to it as the God’s-Honest-Truth.
    When, really, it’s the mirage.
    This post goes in my top 10 favorite list, Dave — but it’s getting crowded up there! 🙂

  2. There have been times when I’ve wondered about God – the nightmare reality of the temporal world seems so overwhelming. Perhaps He was here once, but has since departed in disgust?

    And then, in the worst moments, comes the true rebuttal of the mirage. In my own heart, an overflowing of rage and pain and hate and love that says, “ENOUGH! I will not abide this, and I’m acting.”

    It’s the choice to stand for something, even at the cost of injury and perhaps life. It’s the will to battle, to go against self-preservation for something that seems sometimes abstract.

    And I realize that the mirage is the reflection of the blue empyrean – the image of Heaven come down to say to a shattered world – just a bit further.

    • Yes, when we take a hard and honest look at it, we do see the “nightmare reality” of the temporal world. Why would Jesus volunteer to enter into this nightmare and then subject himself to the worst of it? I would have left this shattered world in disgust. But He redeemed it. And He still comes quietly, compassionately and powerfully in people like you, Andrew, as you testify to us that our renewal is coming, It’s just a bit further. Thank you for holding on and encouraging us to do the same.

  3. Wow, Dave. Yes, I’m feeling the conviction too. Thanks, I think. 🙂 Actually, I’ve had those times in my life where what I so yearned for could only be given by God, and I questioned why He wouldn’t give it. For me, that thing became an idol in my life. I focused my energy on it, much like Gollum and “The Precious.” When God showed me His perspective on where my heart had wandered, it was convicting. And He reminded me of His faithfulness and His (com)passionate love for me.

    Thanks for your words today. They spoke right to my heart.

    • Thank you for sharing your story of yearning and questioning, Jeanne. I am glad this message spoke to you. Your reply has spoken to me. I am asking God to show me His perspective on my desire. Maybe I’m looking at “the ring” as the satisfying end in itself. I don’t know. But I’ll be thinking about it and praying about it. Thanks again.

  4. So, you’ve been eavesdropping on my prayers and then you wrote a post about them. Kind of tacky, don’t you think? 🙂 I’ve noticed God says “not yet” a lot. Really, it happens right up to the point where I show some gratitude. And not the kind of gratitude that will trick God and get me my way, but genuine gratitude for who he is and what he’s already done.

    Mind you, I’m not opposed to being thankful. It’s just not that easy when I’m being denied my entitlement. Thanks for bringing all this to mind with just one post. I think I need to dust off my gratitude journal.

    • I’ll stay out of your head if you stay out of mine 🙂 Yes, God does say “not yet” a lot. And I am discovering that God is inviting me to walk with Him more intimately and more securely and more gratefully in the waiting.
      “Mind you, I’m not opposed to being thankful. It’s just not that easy when I’m being denied my entitlement.”
      Ouch! and Brilliant! That’s exactly it.

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