God, You're Late

“Don’t let sin dim out God’s beauty, let God’s beauty dim out sin.”

~John Martyn

My heart was pierced with conviction when I heard Pastor John M. utter these words last week. I could not help but reflect on the many times I’ve carved out a space for sin to dwell comfortably. My ears were burning and my eyes watered. I wanted him to stop preaching to me because I knew I was responsible for the truth God had already been speaking to my heart. Nevertheless,  he continued, “If there are areas in your life where you place conditions on God’s rule, it’s probably an idol.”

Ouch, I thought, I knew that prayer all too well. For me it sounded like this:

Lord, you can do whatever you want with my life, just please bring me a husband.

This unfulfilled longing has led me to build barriers between myself and God, leading to sin, leading to idolatry. Just a few weeks ago I spoke with a group of women here at Blueprint about my journey to a life where desire and contentment coexist . Here’s a snippet of the inner monologue I shared with them:

I hate being late for things. Most who know me would likely laugh at that statement because strangely enough, I have always struggled to be on time. It is literally an effort I have to invite others into in order to accomplish. Of all the things to be late for, the worst was undoubtedly my very own life. Two years ago I was turning 27 and that was my self- induced deadline for life as I thought it should be to begin. I was raised by married people. My parents have been married for 30 years and both sets of grandparents have persevered one another’s quirks and irks well beyond 55 years.  I had never considered singleness as a part of my life after my deadline of 27.

Why 27? By 27, my mother had moved up the corporate escalator enough to have an article in the local newspaper featuring her professional and personal triumphs: “27- year old Burton has taken the company's marketing to the next level while juggling the demands of being a full- time wife and mother.”

The article is guarded by a plastic cover in a book of memoirs exuding my grandparents' pride in my mom. And I of course always wanted to make them all just as proud with my own accomplishments and by starting my own family.

Two years later, I’m realizing how incredibly angry I have been with the Lord. I decided, I can serve you and others, but we do not need to communicate. In my heart, I’ve been waving my fist at God, “You’re late!"

Perhaps truly succumbing to God’s beauty would subside the anger and disappointment that only pushed me farther away from the God I love. Can you imagine what David must of known and believed about God to say in Psalm 27:4, “One thing that I have asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon his the beauty of the Lord and inquire in his temple”?

Just one thing David, really? David actually asked the Lord for many things. He went to God with all of his desires, but there was only one thing that captured his heart enough for him to ‘pursue’ it, God’s beauty. As hard as it may be to live day by day with a longing unfulfilled, I am convinced that there is no greater thing than to rest in all that I have been given in Christ Jesus.

According to Ephesians 1 I am wealthy beyond measure. In Christ, I have: redemption through his blood, forgiveness of sin, adoption into His family, knowledge of the mystery of his will, his grace lavished on me with wisdom, His Holy Spirit, and most significantly a promise of eternity with this beautiful God. His beauty is worth seeking!

I know others may not share my exact discontentment but as sure as blood pumps through your veins there is guarantee of a longing unfulfilled. In those moments, run only to God, for his beauty is the only thing that dims the illusional bright lights of sin and idolatry. The hymnist said it best,

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.