I’m going to warn you now: if you’ve never had a time in your life when you were wondering when God was going to show up, you probably aren’t going to feel where I’m about to come from. I know there are plenty of good church folks who’ve never, ever had a “Really, Lord?” era when they’ve been teetering on the verge of going off, going numb or going crazy. You’re able to pay your bills on time. Feeling good and healthy. Marriage and relationships all going swell. Kids acting right. I praise God for y’all. But I’m not talking to you…
I need my sisters in struggle, my fellow prayer warriors who bum rush altar calls and wait, who meditate on their Word and wait, who — bless their souls — fast from food in order to hear His voice more clearly and wait some more: only you would be able to understand the kind of nerve-wracking patience that comes from being on hold for the Lord. And only you would be able to truly understand when I meekly but sincerely wring my hands, throw my head back and ask: Lord, where are you?
If my life could be likened to a book in the Bible right now, I would sho nuff be smack dab in the middle of Job. Maybe I’m channeling Pharaoh. I don’t know. All I know is trouble is hitting from every corner and it’s hard to keep believing that greater is yet to come when disaster is everywhere. It’s crouching inside my mailbox in big ol’ bright-colored envelopes. It’s on the other end of my phone line with an 800-number attached to it. It’s sitting in the doctor’s office, pulling up in a tow truck and calling home from my daughter’s school. Disaster is everywhere God ought to be.
I’m a homespun church girl who’s grown up into a woman of genuine faith. I love the Lord. I mean, I truly revel in his presence in my life. But I’ve sat through just about enough sermons and been spoon fed more than my fair share of scripture about my upcoming new season or my inheritance just around the corner. It may send Sister Jenkins and them into a praise dance, but my earthly needs are kicking my spiritual idealism square in its tail.
Fire baptized saints may call me ye of little faith and furrow their sanctified brows at anyone who even dare to hint that God isn’t right on time. But sometimes people just aren’t real enough about that meanwhile process. That thing is rough. It doesn’t matter if your struggle is about your finances (or lack thereof) or a broken heart or family issues or health problems. Waiting on God is difficult and you can’t help but to wonder when the breakthroughs you hear preached and prophesized are actually going to manifest.
That makes having faithful people around you who can keep it funky in times of need an absolute must. No matter how much you love the Word, the conflict between what our eyes can see, what our hands can touch and what our spirits can address can turn into an all-out brawl if you don’t have good folks to pray for you when you’re all prayed out, when you don’t want to see another “and Jesus said” scripture in red, when you suck your teeth at the sound of poor Smokie Norful’s voice because you just can’t listen to or sing along with not one more gospel tune.
Go on ahead and have your downtime. Sulk, vent, scream and cry. Emote however you have to. Take your anger and frazzledness to the Lord and let Him have it straight, no chaser. Just don’t give up because this season — long and drawn out as it is — will eventually fade away.
This is a pep talk for any of y’all as much as it’s a pick-me-up for me. Because falling out of faith may happen from time to time, but thank God we can’t fall out of favor.