Updated: Aug 25, 2020
This article was written by Amy Hutchisson.
The short answer? Us. The longer answer? Let me start by telling you a story.
On my wedding day, I got up at 5:00 in the morning; I couldn’t wait any longer to start the day I would become my fiancé, Adam’s, bride. The way he loved me when I was unlovely and chose me when I turned away, is why I can even begin to imagine how much God loves me.
I’m so grateful for how Adam lives out the example of Ephesians 5.
Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish (verses 25-27, ESV).
Because of God’s great love for us, He wants nothing but the best for us. So, what is He waiting for?
Let’s take a look at Isaiah 30.
Therefore, the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!” (verses 18-22, ESV).
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like that part about waiting. I’d much prefer a verse that just says, “God desires to be gracious to all who hope in Him.” And He does, but He waits. He waits for us because He refuses to simply impose His will on us. Instead, as a devoted suitor, He asks for our hand, requesting, rather than demanding we join our life with His.
I was reading in Acts 2 a few weeks ago the description of the Christian community in Jerusalem after Pentecost.
[A]ll who believed were together and had all things in common . . . selling their possessions and belongings . . . distributing the proceeds . . . as any had need . . . day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes . . . with glad and generous hearts . . . praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved (verses 44-47, ESV).
Those verses stopped me in my tracks. Our church looks nothing like that. That does not describe my church, and I’m guessing it doesn’t describe yours. We don’t have time to gather every day. We aren’t selling things so we can give more money to the church. And we certainly don’t have excited new believers coming every day to join us. God broke my heart for His bride.
God is waiting.
Reading on, it’s clear that He is waiting for our response to His invitation. He is waiting for us to cry out for help. He is waiting for us to recognize the Teacher and the teachers He has given us. He is waiting for us to listen to His voice saying, “This is the way; walk in it,” and to utterly give up every idol we have set before Him.
God’s deep desire is to set us free from the fear that leads us to overfill our schedules with activities, to crowd our homes with creature comforts, and to stuff our bank accounts with more than enough funds for a rainy season, rather than boldly opening our hearts and our hands to share His blessings with one another and allow them to spill out over everyone in our lives.
He is waiting for us to become so confident in Him, so intimate in the love and grace and generosity of His character that we don’t hesitate to step out beyond the limits of our own complacency to follow Him.
Because of God’s great love for us, He wants nothing but the best for us—and He will work that in us, but we have to let Him do it by turning away from our idols of busy-ness and selfishness, which come from the fear that He is not enough. Because that’s a lie.
I write this today having vast experience with fear; it has been my most cherished idol for years. But God is calling on me, and on all of us, to name our fears and anxieties for the idolatry they are: the sin that keeps us from loving Him with everything we are and loving our neighbors as ourselves. He is waiting for us to cry out to Him because we can’t do this on our own. He is waiting for us to turn to Him, to trust His instruction and listen to His voice leading us.
Now, let me be clear. I am not saying we need to meet at the church for worship every morning or gather each night for a progressive dinner. I’m not suggesting that we all ought to cash in our savings or retirement accounts and you probably don’t need to sell your TV or figure out how to manage work and school and grocery shopping without a car.
It’s not about what you have or even how often you make it to church. God is calling us to examine our hearts and our lives and honestly admit what it is we cling to in place of Him. And we need to let go of the fear, the selfishness, the distrust. Not just let them go, but throw these idols in the trash barrel and burn them! He is asking us to join our whole selves, our entire lives with His.
And He is waiting.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any hurtful way in me, and lead me on the everlasting path. Lead us in Your love, O Lord, and grant us mercy. Amen.
Amy Hutchisson is a vivid storyteller, a persistent listener, and a dreadful pun enthusiast. She complements experience with imagination, seeking the beauty wrapped in brokenness. A wordsmith by vocation, she writes to find harmony in the wild, woeful, wacky wonderment of the everyday. When not on active duty as managing director of home life or curating educational experiences for her three children, Amy enjoys relaxing with a good book, completing crochet projects, and perfecting allergy-friendly recipes.
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