On Expectation, Disappointment, and Faith: Waiting for Something Beautiful.Posted: October 10, 2013
Over the summer, I bought an album by Needtobreathe on my sister’s recommendation. I texted her and said I needed some “happy” music that would be good for jogging, and she seemed to think this was a good idea.
What’s funny, though, is that while a lot of the songs are peppy-sounding, I noticed that a lot of the lyrics are dealing with taking steps of faith, despite the fact that there aren’t a lot of comforting signs around, like rainbows and sunshine or whatever.
One track, Something Beautiful, actually echoes some of the images from the story of Israel Crossing the Jordan that we read in church on Sunday. It starts off with the image of someone standing ankle deep in God’s ocean, wondering how much air he’ll need to breathe for when the water rises and overwhelms him.
As the song goes on, the chorus makes a declaration:
Hey now, this is my desire / Consume me like a fire / ‘Cause I just want something beautiful to touch me / I know that I’m in reach / ‘Cause I am down on my knees / I’m waiting for something beautiful.
I can’t help but think about how this is kind of what the act of taking that step, of expecting a miracle and waiting for it to happen before it happens looks like and feels like. Sometimes I find myself going through the motions of rituals, saying the phrases and the words about trusting God, and God’s provision, without fully acknowledging what these statements really mean and feel like.
And then when I experience the frustration of following God and finding myself at what looks like a dead end, where I find myself standing ankle deep in God’s ocean with the tide coming in, I have a choice to make: do I continue to stand here, hold my breath, and see what happens? Is my desire for something more, something better from God, enough?
There’s a real need for something beautiful, for miracles, in our lives. We need these glimpses and these experiences. And, according to the notes I made on Sunday, God makes us step into the water first before the water parts and makes the way.
Which leads me to the really difficult part of this whole thing: the very real potential for disappointment.
My husband and I were watching that new TV show, Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D., and at the end of the most current episode, a character makes the comment that she thinks hoping for something and then experiencing disappointment hurts so much more than not expecting or hoping for anything at all in the first place.
And while it’s kind of a silly place to find an insight that resonated with me, it did at any rate: I am the same way. I would rather stand on the shore and not get my feet wet or my hopes up than step in and wait for the tide to come over me, or for the waters to part, because that feels so much safer, so much more secure.
Maybe it is safer and more secure.
But I’ve found that living my life that way and making choices that way has lead to one thing: a very predictable and very static life. Not taking those risks or taking steps of faith has lead to something that is livable, but also very frustrating: stagnation. Feeling stuck. Not seeing change.
And that’s not really what I want.
So signing the Monument Document was very meaningful to me: I am tired of feeling stuck and I’m tired of feeling afraid of what God might have for me in the future. Maybe it’s predictable, and maybe it’s safer, but it’s not what I really want or what I need.
I want something beautiful.