For the majority of my life well meaning people have told me, whenever I complained about how tough things are, "don't worry, it'll be ok. You'll be fine. God'll take care of you."
When I confessed my desire for a romantic relationship and my commitment to the singleness God had deemed apropriate for who knows what reason the response was:
"Oh, you'll find that person when you least expect them."
"You're a great guy, you won't be single for long."
"Good for you, but you're the 'marriage type.' You'll find someone soon."
And while I appreciate the sentiment, I can't help but think about what the words actually mean. I may be picking apart the meaning too much, but no one has ever accused me about thinking to little about anything. In fact one of my co-workers at Subway, an eighteen-year old who I met less than a month ago, told me that I thought too much about everything. Well said, Tiffany.
If I find that person when I least expect them I'll never find them because I'm always going to be thinking about it. Or thinking about not thinking about it. So far, that's been my m.o. It's how I'm wired. That's not to say that I shouldn't change, but it's just how I've been for the past twenty-four years (or so).
Being a great guy and being single can be mutually exclusive. Just because someone is great doesn't mean they're gonna get married. Jesus wasn't, and he was pretty great.
Sure, I may be the "marriage type" but there are all sorts of people out there who are married who probably shouldn't be, right? Not thinking of anyone in particular, just the odds are pretty good.
What brought all of this up? Well, I was sitting in church yesterday (Redeemer down in Midtown KC) and the pastor was preaching on Hebrews 10:1-25, one of my favorite books in the Bible. The writer writes about how we have a High Priest who can identify with us, because He was tempted in every way. This is one of the great Truths of Christianity, and one that we should all hold fast to. It's something I don't think about nearly enough and that leads to a whole lot of whining. But this train of thought led me someplace familiar, and someplace I didn't like too much. The logic goes like this: God's got it taken care of, so don't worry. He will come through and make you clean. You don't need to trouble yourself over life because, eventually, God will take over and everything will be ok.
This made me think of coffee. What else? When I make a good cup of coffee it takes some things: good coffee, a good grinder, a good brew method, good water, and time. The time doesn't need to be good, there just needs to be enough of it, FYI. If I try to rush the process the coffee doesn't turn out. If I buy the coffee pre-ground and don't wet the filter and don't take enough time usually I end up with an under-extracted (weak) cup of coffee that isn't even worth drinking. On the other hand, if I take too much time I wind up with an overly strong, over-extracted cup that hurts to drink. There is an appropriate amount of time that it should take me to make a cup of coffee, and if I don't take it I won't get a good cup. It's as simple as that. I'm working on a chemical reaction and if I try to speed up that reaction it goes wrong. If I take ten minutes brewing the cup instead of four it won't be much good. If I try to brew sixteen ounces of coffee in my Chemex in two minutes it won't be any better. But if I take the time to heat my water, pre-wet the filter, wait to grind until my water is ready, and brew for three to four minutes I'll have something that I can enjoy. You can probably enjoy it with me, I usually make enough for two.
Our redemption takes an appropriate amount of time. Or, I should say, our sanctification takes an appropriate amount of time. As I write this I am being sanctified by God. I am being purified from sin. I have been redeemed by the sacrifice of our high priest, as have you (I assume if you're reading this). But the sanctification is something I'd like to focus on. To rush it is to rush the plan of an omnipotent God, to stall it is to claim that we know better. Just like a cup of coffee we take time to be purified. We have already be justified, set apart. But our purification is a process. And it is one that must take the time set aside for it. I have, often, caught myself looking ahead to what is to come. I'm, unfortunately, not above time like God is. I'm doomed to live in the present as a three-dimensional creature, crawling along my time-line in always the same direction. So the only time I see with any clarity is the now. The future is an uncertainty, the past is past.
I know that everything will be ok. Well, I at least hope that everything will be ok. But please, let me have the time to get there.