Holding Out

It’s that moment after a long, hard day when you just want to hear someone say,”It’s all going to be worth it, you are worth it.” If those words don’t come, what do you turn to? Sometimes it’s ok, we just shrug it off confident in who we are and look forward to a new day. Yet, other times the feeling of loneliness can seep in and with it, bring self-doubt. In these moments I long for comfort in this world in the form of my performance, praise from a boss, or affection from a friend. I can put my hope in the things I want in this world: promotion, a degree, a significant other, fill in the blank…

1 Corinthians 15:19 “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”

How badly do you want X? Don’t be fooled, temptation isn’t impersonal. These longings that I have are normal, but only God can fill them. I am made to center everything in my life on him, to think of everything in terms of my relationship with him. When I do this He gives me perspective. He may not be physically tangible to me, but he is spiritually tangible if I allow him to be. Prayer, real, deep, soul baring, vulnerable prayer makes him tangible. Reading his Word and hanging on each verse that resounds the truth of his passionate love for me makes him tangible.

So often I lose sight of what I’m called to hold out for and place my hope in the things of this world. I long for a mate who will love me, but if I allow that longing to overshadow my longing for God it can cloud my judgment and my perspective. It can even lead me to compromise my standard if I let it. That guy who doesn’t believe in God can start looking good because he’s giving me ‘tangible’ attention. Can we say, “Danger!” When God is more tangible, I recognize and am willing to wait on Him who will fulfill the desires of my heart.

Job 11:18 You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety

Perspective is a powerful thing. As Christians we are called to have a perspective that takes into account we cannot see all that God has in store for us. The hope that he holds out for us is a promise. The promise is that he is at work in every detail and that in every moment hard or wonderful, He is there. It is easier to turn to what is tangible in this world. It feels good to hear people praise us, to earn promotions, to be held and told wonderful things. It can be harder to turn to Jesus, the unseen God. Yet the truth is, Jesus is worthy of my attention. Timothy Keller put it best, “He is unpredictable yet reliable, gentle yet powerful, authoritative yet humble, human yet divine. I urge you to seriously consider the significance of his life in your own.”

Psalm 25:5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

To glorify something is to find it beautiful for what it is in itself to the point where it compels me to adore it or have my imagination captured by it. Music can do this, people can do this. Yet when it’s Jesus I find beautiful in this way, I want to serve him unconditionally and allow him to fill all my gaps, to fill all my longings.

I do not always turn to God in my feelings of loneliness or frustration. When those “big” moments come in life my first instinct, even after all these years, is still to run to people. But he really does get it. He gets it when I have a hard day at work. He gets me when I really just want a hug or someone to tell me it’ll be ok. He gets me and wants to intimately comfort me if I will just let him. It’s worth the fight to run to his spiritual arms because he gives me what I truly long for, Him.

As I chose to engage in this battle for the past few weeks he showed me his love in the most tangible ways and reassured me that even in my moments of doubt, He’s there. You won’t always pass the test or get the promotion. That person that you thought things were going so well with may totally lose interest, but at the end of the day, He will be there, whispering in your ear,” I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3) and his words will give you the strength to fight another day with passion, courage in your heart and an unmatched confidence than that anything this world can offer in exchange.

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