More than These

I want to know. I have always wanted to know. Everything!!! But in my singleness I wanted most of all to know why love tarried. I was under the impression that, given enough information, given the right answers, I would be able to cope with my loneliness and rest peacefully in God’s arms.

The truth is I would not understand were He to explain all things to me. I would not grasp the mind of God should He open to me the gates of heaven. I realized that it was a relationship I craved, not knowledge. What I wanted was an end to the sadness and love to present itself. Knowing would never keep me warm at night.

The desire to know was my way of attempting to control God. It was my way of trying to harness the reckless nature of faith, of taming the mysterious God who causes the wind to blow. Of course I want to know why love shows me such disregard, but the answer has ceased to be so important. I love Him, and He loves me.

Our God loves us, and desires to bless us; so we have hope. What we do not yet know is whether He plans to bless us with this particular gift—whether hope will be fulfilled, and if so—when. That He desires to bless us, that He has already blessed us in myriad ways is unquestionable. “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Cor. 1:20).

It is simply no comfort to me to find formulas within scripture that I can use to end this longing. It is no comfort to me to hear people, impressed with me, say, “Surely God will bless you.” Or some will say, “You deserve a wife.” I am aware of what I deserve, and it is not a wife. I deserve the wrath of God, but I already have a promise in Christ that I will not get what I deserve. What I await is His gracious kindness.

In all cases and in every way, a reltationship is God’s provision, God’s work through Christ. Therefore, I pursue righteousness because it is a worthwhile pursuit. Then, I trust God to bless in His time, and in His way. I am comfortable saying, “I don’t know.” Now that I have graduated from seminary, I am very comfortable saying that there are things I just do not know.

What I dare not do is sit and wait for the blessing of a spouse. What I dare not do is believe that some slick formula, or five-step process will work magic where God’s grace has not. What I dare not do is begin the process of bargaining to make God answer me—as though He were deaf or callous to my needs.

We must pray. We must act. We must prepare. But we dare not lose sight of our place in the family. He is the Father and we are the children. As His children—we know our Father would never give us a stone if we ask for bread (Matt. 7:9).

We are not in control of as much as we desire, but that is the issue. Who IS in control, and why do we desire to master the situation? These questions steal our peace. We are pushed off center by the fear that, for all our prayers and the prayers of those who love us, we are no closer to our goal. We are unearthed by the simple fact that all our efforts have not yielded the promised result—and we judge God for sleeping on the job.

I realize that He may have called me to Himself for more than a wife and family. I know that I came to Christ for more than a wife and family. I have a longing, but I also realize that He loves me. And, despite what I have and do not have, I love Him. I truly love Him. I have had to answer, far more than three times, the question He posed to Peter:

“Hudson, do you truly love me more than these?” (John 21:15).

“You mean more than a wife and more than children? Do you mean more than cuddling and Eskimo kisses? Do you mean more than family campfires and sing-a-longs? Do you mean more than long walks hand-in-hand with my beloved wife and children? If you mean more than these and porch swing conversations, then yes.”

“Yes, Lord, You know I love You more than these.”

Adam was told to tend the Garden, and I was told, “Trust me.”

He asked again, “Hudson, do you truly love me?” (John 21:16).

“You mean, Lord, more than sharing life with someone and learning to love her faults? Do you mean more than the joys of Christmas morning and giving gifts to my children? Lord, if you mean more than tuck-ins and bedside prayers, then, yes.”

“Yes, Lord, You know that I love You more than these.”

Adam was told to name the animals, and I was told, “Trust me.”

The third time He said to me, “Hudson, do you love me?” I was hurt because He asked me the third time, “Do you love me?” (John 21:17).

“Lord if you mean more than quiet moonlit evenings counting stars with the wife of my youth then yes. If you mean more than birthday parties and sleeping-in Saturdays and breakfast in bed, then yes? If you mean more than making up after foolish words were said, yes? If you mean falling asleep in the arms of the woman I love, then yes—a thousand times yes?”

“You know all things; You know that I love You” (John 21:17).

He said simply, “Trust me”

No answer is as simple or reprehensible as the one we do not want to hear, the one we already know. It is my desire to master these years of longing that have tempted my sanity. Faith will have none of it. Faith demands my allegiance, while much is still in the balance, while much of the puzzle is yet unfinished. Faith demands that I love and follow, not because of what I have, hold, or see, but because of God’s guarantee. Faith calls me to trust. Faith is the currency of the kingdom of God.

Faith is not a force. It is not for manipulating God for our own fulfillment. Faith is the confidence that allows us to walk through the valley of the shadow of death with straight backs, resolved to fear no evil.

There is a God who, even in the midst of our longing, calls us His own and loves us. The only answer that really matters is the question asked by the disciples while they feared destruction on the sea. It is the same question asked by Martha, “Lord, don’t you care?” (Mark 4:38, Luke 10:40) He cares.

Look! Even now, if you ask Him He will rise, speak, and calm the storm. We are free to mourn our loss, but we must do so in trust. We must show that we love Him by letting faith blossom in hope until hope radiates to a lost and dying world.


This article first appeared on — Wednesday, November 19, 2008

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