Sometimes, I take a running start and fling myself off the Cliff of Faith, scared but fully trusting that God will catch me. I’ve moved to a new state with no place to live yet; I’ve agreed to live with someone without having met her first; I’ve traveled alone internationally with no idea if anyone would pick me up at the airport. It’s adventurous and adrenaline-pumping, and God always catches me, even if the landing is a bit bumpy at the bottom of the Cliff.
But this week, I feel like I was minding my own business at the top of the Cliff, and I was somehow pushed backwards off of it without my consent.
There are three things I’ve been wanting lately:
- To have a husband
- To own a house
- To be free of medical bill issues (from my recent surgery)
These wants have been whispering (or shouting) to me, “Jesus can’t satisfy you. Only you can satisfy you. Only sin or hard work or worry can give you want you want.”
Tuesday, I was driving to work, and I was stuck in my hormones, asking Jesus how He could possibly satisfy them – and how He could be glorified in unsatisfied desires. Probably about 25% of my attitude was genuine curiosity (I wonder how He can be satisfactory to me physically); but the other 75% was definitely belligerence (If You’re so all-satisfying, Jesus, then prove it).
At lunch that day, my friend in Texas called me and told me she is in the process of buying a house and moving into it. This is three days after my friend at church told me he’s buying a house. And on the heels of my roommate updating me on the process of getting a house with her fiancé to live in after their wedding. Of course, I’m so happy for my friends! But I’ve been wanting to buy a house in San Diego for almost three years now, and my dream to do so has become more specific over the past couple of weeks, to the point where I’ve started pinpointing my ideal location and looking at houses online.
To add to the stress of all that longing (because getting my “wanter” going usually comes with the stresses of worry and planning and wondering and impatience), my medical bills from my surgery keep rolling in – to the tune of several thousand dollars more than I expected. And we all know how fuuuuuuuuun it is to deal with insurance. I found myself thinking at one point on Tuesday, “I wonder if I could hire someone to take care of this for me.”
With those three things going on, I was a turmoil of feelings, and I was having a hard time articulating any of it. If anyone had asked me that morning what was going in my head, I probably would have said something like, “I just…want…uuuuuuuuugh. WHY!?” and then I would have cried a little. I hate feeling that out of control of circumstances, and especially that out of control of emotions and words.
So I had prayed that morning on the way to work that Jesus would show me that He is all-satisfying. Well, after I got to work, my friend texted me (and a few other women) that she was praying for us all in our singleness, and she wanted to know how she could pray for us specifically. I immediately texted her, “I am having trouble believing that Jesus is enough for me.”
She texted a beautifully encouraging response and at the end of it said, “Read Psalm 37.” Desperate to get out of the funk I was in, I immediately pulled the chapter up on my phone. It talks about how God upholds the people who do the right thing in the face of evil, who take Him seriously even when no one else does, who trust Him instead of sin in order to be satisfied. Verse 19 jumped out at me. It says, “They [the righteous, the ones who follow God] shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.”
There was that word – satisfied. God had heard my prayer. There were other verses that were encouraging and calmed me down; but I was at work, so I reminded myself to read it again at lunchtime.
At lunch, I fully intended to dive right into the chapter, but my dang smart phone was so distracting! I started looking up houses nearby and texting links of ones I liked to my roommate and getting lost in search filters and features. I also had to talk to my insurance again, and that stressed me out more.
Toward the end of lunch, I remembered the Psalm, so I reluctantly closed my browser and opened my Bible app. This time, the chapter was even better than before!
It talks about how God is the joy of the righteous (16), the satisfaction of the hungry (19), and the delight of the desirous (4). Reading it made me remember that all those things I was thinking about – God was thinking about them, too.
Ever since being knocked off the Cliff of Faith (mainly, when I saw the dollar amount on my surgery bill), I’ve been screaming and kicking and whining about the injustice of my life, closing my eyes and trying to figure out on my own how to stop falling.
But the chapter is full of verses like this:
- “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (4)
- “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (5)
- “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him” (7)
- “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not utterly be cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand” (23-24)
That last one! “Though he fall, he shall not utterly be cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.”
I don’t need to kick and scream and descry the injustice of not having a husband or house, or of having a larger bill than I expected. God expected it all. None of it took Him by surprise. When I had no choice but to freefall, He was there with His loving arms to catch me so smoothly that I didn’t even notice. He knows the end of the fall; He knows where I’m going to land; He knows how my bills will be paid and where I’m going to live after my roommate’s wedding and how I’m going to meet my husband.
I can trust all this for three reasons:
- God has shown Himself to be faithful to my friends who are getting husbands and houses. They are being tremendously blessed by a good God, and I can only rejoice with them.
- God has shown Himself faithful to me throughout my life – through every Cliff of Faith, every move, every career change, every blog post.
- God proved how faithful and all-satisfying He could be when He sent Jesus to save me.
God, knowing I would never, ever, ever be able to climb Cliffs – only to jump off them – sent me the ultimate fall insurance. He sent His Son Jesus to perform the greatest act of faith on my behalf: dying on a cross, trusting that God would raise Him from the dead. And then God came through; He raised Jesus from the dead and made the way for me to trust Him and be with Him forever.
It’s crazy to think about, but how can the God/Man Who took my place in death ever be anything less than satisfying? My greatest need (a way to not be separated from God’s love) was fulfilled already. My minor needs/wants exist only to point me to the Great Satisfier of that need.
I still want a husband, a house, and debtlessness, of course; but thinking about those things no longer reminds me that I’ve fallen off the Cliff – only that I’m resting in the everlasting arms of the One Who caught me.