Have you ever wanted something so bad that you were sure God was withholding, just to watch you squirm?
Or that maybe He was teaching you a lesson about longing and the desires of the heart and the things that really satisfy? But you just wanted to learn the damn lesson already so you could just go on and have that thing you really want – the relationship, status, job, move, baby, trip… or that shiny new widget with your name all over it?
And maybe you sorta have a little bit of an attitude about it, and you cock your feathered bangs and side ponytail to the heavens and whine like a teenage valley-girl, "Hey, God, did you, like, forget about me? What about what I need, here? Have you ever thought about that? Furshur."
Only me then. Except I'm (thankfully) a few decades post feathered bangs and side ponytails. It's that pissy missy attitude I still have trouble shaking.
Right now, for me, it's a house. The great unattainable.
And not even my own house. I'm not even asking to be able to paint the walls here, just a nice neutral bungalow with a dishwasher and a garage and a backyard where my kids can play. Something without shag carpet, please.
I did my time in Seventies Haus (the ranch) and Eighties Haus (the children's home), and now, just maybe I can graduate up a decade. C'mon Craigslist – hand me a nice Nineties Haus this time around. We're not talkin' granite countertops here. I'll rock an art deco lampshade, if I have to… maybe some flesh-colored stucco or a brass-trimmed fireplace.
Wait, how about Fifties Haus or Turnofthecentury Haus with some cute built-ins and hardwood floors… doorways I have to duck into with glass doorknobs and hazardous wiring. Oddly shaped bathrooms with subway tile and piles of character, maybe a sun porch off the back for good measure.
You see the problem, don't you?
This thing I want? This house? This fresh chance to make a home?
I want it too bad. I daydream and night-dream about what our eventual rental will look like, where I'll put the black hutch or the distressed coffee table. About what color the throw pillows should be, and I've logged thrice the hours on Craigslist than in my Bible, of late. And every time I shiver 'cuz this house is always freezing cold and I can't go flip on the heater in someone else's house, I cringe and shoot up a snarky "thanks a lot, God" while I ruminate on what I deserve.
It's a problem, friend. And confession is good for the soul.
Because I don't think that God withholds good things from His children.
I think He withholds idols when we're in danger of letting them destroy us. And I think he protects us from the desires of our flesh when our bank accounts and the size of our faith aren't ready to bear the weight of those desires.
We're one paycheck deep into new jobs. We're six weeks out of a whole former life. And man, how impatient I am for the world to spin as I would have it.
But right now, God is telling me to quit wiggling and wait. Sit still for awhile. Rest in His provision – his purple-carpeted, 42-degree, love and laughter and garlic-bread filled shacking-up-with-my-in-laws provision. He protects me from myself, and in the middle of my stubbornness and the living room that isn't mine, I'm grateful for it.