A Longing Like Starvation

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If you ask me, that time has come and passed, and it has grown increasingly difficult to wake up with renewed hope. In fact, it has been difficult to keep my sense of humor, difficult to fight the cynicism. This is part of the reality in which I live, but not the whole. If these were the only thoughts in my head, I would be nothing but hopeless—and I am not without hope. I had no clue it would be so long or so hard, but time is not my enemy and waiting is not punishment.

My chief mistake was to conceive the process simple, manageable, easy. My greatest disappointment has been a byproduct of my own false ideas, or those thrust at me by well-meaning souls. The plan was simple, because it was all about me. Not only did I not consider the ways in which all our sins combine and compound the difficulties of relationships, but also I did not consider that God might have something to say in the matter.

I am not the first, nor will I be the last person to have unfulfilled desires. This is reality. It is not a happy reality, but that is not for me to choose. If I am to live, I must live by what is real, not according to the voices or possibilities within my head. Life seems to have moved on without caring to meet my needs or fulfill my desires. But I have not forgotten that the God who loves me is working all things together for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). And I love Him. So when this loneliness feels like death, aches like starvation, I confess that I am alive and well fed. No matter the fears that plague me, time is not my enemy, and waiting is not punishment.

Time is

A Longing Like Starvation

I have come as though through briars, torn, bruised, bleeding, and tired. I have a longing that colors much of what I see, feel, and think. I long to be married with a longing that consumes. I am not desperate, but the longing feels like starvation. Relationships have never been easy for me, but I cannot conceive why they have been so hard, or why the wait must be so long.

The picture looked very different when I was young. Back then the plan seemed so simple; at the time of my choosing I would be married and raise a family. That’s it! Marriage was to be that simple. I was supposed to get married at the time of my choosing, because I considered the whole process simple. I believed, like most, that the formula for getting married was natural, involving little effort. So I could defer it until the moment that best fit my plans. I thought I could wait until I was ready.

If you ask me, that time has come and passed, and it has grown increasingly difficult to wake up with renewed hope. In fact, it has been difficult to keep my sense of humor, difficult to fight the cynicism. This is part of the reality in which I live, but not the whole. If these were the only thoughts in my head, I would be nothing but hopeless—and I am not without hope. I had no clue it would be so long or so hard, but time is not my enemy and waiting is not punishment.

My chief mistake was to conceive the process simple, manageable, easy. My greatest disappointment has been a byproduct of my own false ideas, or those thrust at me by well-meaning souls. The plan was simple, because it was all about me. Not only did I not consider the ways in which all our sins combine and compound the difficulties of relationships, but I also did not consider that God might have something to say in the matter.

I am not the first, nor will I be the last person to have unfulfilled desires. This is reality. It is not a happy reality, but that is not for me to choose. If I am to live, I must live by what is real, not according to the voices within my head. Life seems to have moved on without caring to meet my needs or fulfill my desires. But I have not forgotten that the God who loves me is working all things together for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). And I love Him. So when this loneliness feels like death, aches like starvation, I confess that I am alive and well fed. No matter the fears that plague me, time is not my enemy, and waiting is not punishment.

Time is a thief only if I think of what I do not have. Waiting has caused me to dwell on the absence, to focus on the longing, twisting my energies towards solving this one great mystery. The voices in my head may be convincing, but they are the ghosts of insecurities, false expectations, and wrong thinking. These voices that tell me God has forsaken me, that the waiting is in vain, are not of God. The voices that speak discouragement and paralyze my efforts to serve God have come from below. Time has stolen nothing. Each day is a gift. I may mourn the wife and family I do not have, but time is not my enemy and waiting is not punishment.

What should I say to voices that remind me of my failings? What should I say to the voices that speak discouragement and hopelessness? Should I heed the voices that speak lies in contradiction to the Word of God? I will give them no space in my head. I will give them none of my time. Those who marry at twenty-one are no better than those who marry at forty, no better than those who still wait.

Time does not lessen truth, but it can weaken confidence and cloud reason. Over time what we know to be true can become clouded by the continued presence of failure. At least, that is the way it feels. At times, no one can convince me to view this protracted sorrow as anything other than failure—personal failure. The truth is, where we see no reward we see failure. My expectations have led me here, and over time, they have challenged me. Since things are not going my way, I either want time to stop or the waiting to end.

The darkened cloud that confuses me is there because I expected to marry at a young age—though this was not promised to me. The truth is that I expected to be married by now. Since I am not, my mind conceives that I must have done something wrong, that I am being punished, and that time is my enemy. But nothing, NOTHING is that simple. If we are seeking first His kingdom, then it is His business to add “all these things” (Matt. 6:33). The reasons behind the pain we experience must be considered in light of His love for us.

It is hard to say to what degree the desire for a relationship and the setback of failed relationships have affected my self-esteem. At times there exists a cavernous space between the way I feel and what is real. Sometimes the line is so blurred I can hardly perceive the difference. This is the penalty of time. That very fertile heart, in which hope once grew freely has, over time, suffered drought. I am sometimes scared to hope, scared to believe that the longing will ever be fulfilled. But, while God has not promised me a wife, He is a good God, a merciful Lord who loves me. It is He in whom I hope, and to Him I bring my tears.

Time is not my enemy and waiting is not punishment. In fact, the more time that passes the more I become certain that I cannot give up. How could I give up when I have waited so long? Who knows, perhaps the green pastures, in which He means to lay me down, are just over the next hill. I have not come this far, and waited this long, only to stop short or give up.

At times the reality of disappointment weighs on me and whispers defeat, but I have not lost hope. I live a life, not focused on finding a wife, but on serving my God. And yet, I hope someday to feed the hunger, to ease the pain. If I stop here, if I listen to the voices—then time will judge me, and I will have my punishment.

 

 

This Article was first published on Crosswalk.com, Wednesday, April 16, 2008.

 

© 2014, Hudson Russell Davis. All rights reserved.

2 Comments

  1. I totally agree waiting is not punishment though it may seem so when our desires have not been by God.But it is worth paying the price for nothing good comes easy.God moulds our hearts according to His will and purpose while we are in the waiting.God Bless.

  2. Bro. Davis:
    The one thing that is so evident to me while reading this is that if it were not for the time that you were unmarried and felt the discomforts that unmarried believers sometimes feel that you would not have been used to the degree that you have to touch & encourage so many of our hearts, and that you allowed the LORD to use your bitter times to be converted into pleasant (shared) thoughts with others.

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